Conversation Code Words
are ONE WORD EXPLANATIONS that easily describe complex communication patterns. Memorizing convo ques amongst a team helps conversation transitions be efficient and playful. Any team can utilize the basic concepts shown here. Customize terminology and other specifics to fit your style. Check out the way The Veme Team uses this concept.
If you add information to a conversation that doesn’t feel relevant, helpful or is potentially distracting to the speaker/other participants, you may receive an APPLE.
APPLE is feedback that what you are saying is not useful to somebody’s communication agenda. You can disagree with the APPLE, and your disagreement will be heard, but if you have received an APPLE it’s best to:
- let the person who gave you the APPLE finish what they were planning/saying
- remember what you were saying and commit to being heard at the next available moment
There are times when paying attention to your screen is awesome and helpful
for your team, but sometimes your screen can disconnect you from your surroundings. This is when you may receive a BANANA.
BANANA doesn’t always happen in relation to staring at a screen. It could be any moment where a team member feels like you aren’t present and they need your immediate focus.
If you are not able to respond directly to the BANANA, let the other person know exactly when you will be able to focus with them.
BANANA enables us to ask for undivided attention and to be able to openly offer it as well.
Have you ever been socializing with somebody and realized they were about to say something inappropriate? Perhaps you knew what they were saying was offensive or insensitive to someone present.
We use DURIAN when we need to terminate a line of communication immediately. DURIAN requires absolute trust in each other. It demands that you suspend all judgement or personal interpretation of an event until a specified time when you can talk it over with your co-worker.
DURIAN creates trust between team members because it is only used when there is no other option. When someone calls DURIAN there is NO BACK AND FORTH CONVO ALLOWED. A person never uses a DURIAN unless they’re absolutely sure that the convo must DIE. Use DURIAN only when you are sure of its necessity.
When you are unsure about the validity of a co-worker’s information, or you have something to add to what they are saying, use PEAR to intervene. PEAR is used for fact corrections or adding to someone’s line of conversation. It is basically a considerate way to interrupt someone and ask their permission to do so.
If you are giving a PEAR, make every effort not to be a “know-it-all.” Your fact could just as easily be incorrect. Stay curious when giving and receiving a PEAR. When you receive a PEAR, allow yourself to listen to the additional information, then FEEL FREE TO CONTINUE WHAT YOU WERE SAYING.
Use KIWI when you are either at a loss for words or when you observe that your coworker is having trouble expressing themselves.
When feeling unable to express your full thoughts KIWI calls upon the assistance of your co-workers to help you communicate. KIWI requests the input of your colleagues to help you move through the communication block. You can also use KIWI when you recognize that somebody else could explain your idea more efficiently.
LEMON requires deep self-reflection. Sometimes receiving a LEMON is merely a suggestion that you are ranting or over-explaining your points. But often receiving a LEMON is a call to reflect (through a Smoothie session) on the deeper feelings being displayed in your communication style. LEMON is called on when your tone/words imply that you could be power tripping or have hidden feelings.
SMOOTHIE sessions aka mediated conversation lead by a counselor, will often reveal subconscious beliefs or fears that keep you from communicating your true intent. Zork culture supports the idea that everyone’s motives are always innocent when they are traced back to their original motive.
When your peeps are scattered in every direction, and you want to call them together to share information, use MARSHMALLOW.
MARSHMALLOW is like a football huddle. It’s about sharing goals and agendas and seeing if people are into your ideas. Or maybe you are calling MARSHMALLOW to inform people about sensitive information or a super productivity plan.
Group dynamics and group conversation can often be high energy and full of enthusiastic interruptions or interjections. In most cases, as long as the energy is not one of power tripping, this kind of playful conversation style is welcome in zorking culture.
NUTS is used when someone interrupts you, but you deeply know you must finish what you were saying. It can also be used when someone is speaking, and they are interrupted, but you were extremely keen on hearing their completed thought.
Use NUTS if you think you might not remember what you were saying unless you complete your thought.
PEACHES is a playful, gentle interjection into a conversation with an entirely unrelated piece of info. PEACHES is ideal for slipping in and out of a conversation without the risk of diverting its focus.
Using PEACHES tells everyone that you are aware of your OUT OF CONTEXT interruption but that you will be respectfully in and out with your information. PEACHES comes in handy during group collaboration,especially when there are a lot of people involved and the adventure level is high.
I am sure this has happened to you. You are out in the world, and a song comes on you want to remember it. A conversation you’re having is relevant to office life and you want help recalling it for later use. This is when someone calls PIE. PIE freezes the moment so that your brain gets that extra motivational memory boost.
PIE also helps the people around you take a mental picture with you to help recreate the moment for a later, more relevant time.
WATERMELON comes in when you want to take the whole group in an entirely new direction, topic, or activity. WATERMELON signifies transition, and if you are calling a WATERMELON,you are setting the stage for the next possible group direction.
Even if your WATERMELON gets trumped by another person’s agenda, it’s still important that you speak it and let your impulse be heard. WATERMELON lets others know that you have a fabulous idea and gives them the option to follow your lead