Andrew Ishak: The Language of Time, Video Creation, and Sports
Andrew Ishak's (pronounced Isaac) work is focused on communication of teams and organizations that work in high-pressure situations, such as tactical police units, fire crews, and sports teams. His recent research is aimed at understanding organizational training for lifesaving critical teams (e.g., wildland fire crews, SWAT teams). He has also conducted research projects on various topics within communication and sport and is the co-editor of a book on sports and identity. He is currently researching the effects of cohesion in intramural and intercollegiate teams.
Ishak is also the main instructor for Public Speaking at Santa Clara University and consults with organizations and individuals on public speaking and interview preparation. He approaches the course using techniques gathered from his research on the training of teams that perform in high-pressure situations.
In this episode, we get into Ishak’s career path, how time impacts communication, his 2018 video-creation journey, random sports knowledge, and more.
Gavin Cosgrave: How did you get interested in communication?
Andrew Ishak: I was working in search engine marketing, and I just hated my job. The people were interesting, the things we were doing were interesting, but I felt like we were making the world a worse place. We were trying to get people who couldn’t afford to take out mortgages to take out mortgages.
I was fascinated by how people would use these strange terms. Instead of “What’s the big picture?” they would say “What’s the view from 30,000 feet?” I was fascinated by how people couldn’t use the easiest term. That’s called neology, it’s the creation of new words.
GC: What is chronemics?
AI: Chronemics comes from the same root word as chronology, it’s the study of time as a non-verbal component of communication. There are different non-verbals: gestures, facial expressions… but timing matters as well. Let’s imagine you send a message to someone you’re interested in. You see three dots, then you still see three dots for like ten minutes. All sorts of things run through your mind. The response comes back and it’s “sounds great.” And you wonder why it took so long. That’s an example of how timing affects our interpretation of a message. Humor is another good example: timing matters so much for good humor.
You and I have a 10:30 meeting, and we show up at 10:30 because that’s how it works in the U.S. In Egypt or Brazil or Mexico or Argentina, you say 10:3o and you can show up in the morning sometime. The meaning of those words depend on the culture. We don’t think about it because we take time for granted.
AI (discussing topics from one of his favorite classes): What is now? How long is now? Is it an instant? 30 seconds? today’s era? 2 years? The longer we think about now, the more we think about future generations. If I think about now as 50 years instead of 1 year, I’m more likely to plant trees. Our conceptualization of time has changed how we do everything. People get upset when something doesn’t get delivered in 2 days. Ten years ago, you just went to the store. We’ve changed how we think about when things are delivered or messages are received.