Tagged : psychology

It’s not the smoke you make, it’s the smoke people see…

It’s not the smoke you make, it’s the smoke people see… Huh? What smoke?

One of my favorite sayings is: It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear. This saying simply means we have to consider our message from the listener’s perspective and not our own. It’s not enough to be correct, reasonable or even brilliant. Nope. It’s about what they, the people hear.

Has nothing to do with smoke? Well, it does. Just read on.

Last week I, as director, spoke with a lighting technician. We were discussing the design and layout of the stage at VBG Bethel for Christmas. The stage has to look a bit mysterious. Also this lighting technician wanted to use awesome light beams. Since a beam of light is only visible if part of the light is scattered by tiny particles, like smoke, he needs a smoke machine. Such machine essentially turns water in smoke. So far so good. But this guy told me the moment he starts to use a smoke machine, some people in the audience start to cough.

If ‘it’s not what you say, it’s what people hear’ is true, you could also say ‘it’s not what you do, it’s what people see’. Which is essentially the case with the smoke machine.

People generally associate (any) smoke with irritation of the lungs. Even though the smoke is water based (thus being harmless to your lungs), people have to cough. They see smoke so they have to cough. This results in the audience complaining about something that isn’t there.

The solution: This time he rents a haze machine. It generates the same light beam effect, but the smoke is invisible. There’s only one downside. This invisible smoke is oil based which sounds less healthy to me compared to water based smoke. But people won’t see smoke, so they don’t have to cough… It’s not the smoke you make, it’s the smoke people see

Did you know that the use of color at train stations has an impact on the waiting experience of travelers? Probably you did, or you guessed this would be the case.

So how does the use of color affect travelers? First of all, travelers name green, red and purple as warm colors. When these colors are used at train stations, people have more fun and a more positive attitude while waiting for their train.

Research also shows high-intensity colors result in people perceiving their waiting period as shorter (in reality, their waiting period stayed the same). On the contrary, travelers feel more happy when colors are used in a low intensity. In that case, they experience waiting as more enjoyable.

— This is according to research done by Dutch organization ProRail.

What color intensity should be used at train stations?