Connecting without Speaking

Had an interesting experience this afternoon… I went to shop for a new office chair at Staples, and while waiting for assistance in that section, I observed other shoppers in the area.

Recognizing a conversation without words of two nearby shoppers, followed the dialogue a few minutes, watching frustration escalate. I stood up from the comfy leather chair I was testing, and inquired if I could help. With my broken sign language, gestures and slow enunciation, I was able to help two deaf women purchase a new office desk, the matching accessories and a nice leather chair (negotiating for their discounts and free delivery).

One of the ladies thanked me – in sign language – expressing this was a gift for her cherished friend – the other woman.  I was able to reply “You’re welcome.”

Upon leaving the store, the employee thanked me.

You never know when effective communication skills (and minimal sign language) might be needed.
“How fulfilling” I said to myself as I left the store (without making any purchase of my own), thankful to be of service.


Sheryl Roush is a communication skills trainer, and knows the basic alphabet in American Sign Language.

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