Utilizing Multiform Grammar: A Hands-on Workshop for Professionals and Employees

In February, I’ll be giving hands-on workshops on multiform grammar (MFG) at the Learning Enrichment Foundation (LEF) in Toronto. The participants in these will be the professional clients and the staff at the organization. How can proficiency in MFG benefit the two groups?

Before answering this question, I like to explain what “proficiency in MFG” means. Proficiency is the ability to use tools and methods skillfully; to utilize the potential they have, to accomplish a certain task. These tools and methods can be tangible such as a keyboard or a sports car, as well as intangible such as tax laws and grammatical principles. When people develop proficiency, they acquire the capacity to navigate through certain environments. For example, knowing how to drive a sports car enables the driver to participate in a race and even win it. Competition is therefore an event in which the participants show the level of their skills to navigate through a certain environment, in comparison to that of others.

Noa Yaari, CRRS 3/30. 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto

A proficiency in MFG is competence in integrating words and images effectively and creatively. It is the use of the principles of MFG consciously and intentionally while relinquishing the imitation of others as a method of verbal-visual expression. Further, it is the ability to use intuition in a sophisticated way, translating a “gut feeling” into a technique of achieving goals by combining words and images. Think about the slideshows that you have seen in lessons; how some of them were more helpful than others considering the learning outcomes. Recall online stores in which constellations of photos and the descriptions of the products sometimes clarified and sometimes obscured the nature of the products.

Noa Yaari, CRRS 3/30 (detail). 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto

How can proficiency in MFG benefit professionals? The three main factors that influence our current use of MFG are technology, culture, and new insights into human communication. Technologically, the accessibility of cameras, mainly through smartphones, and of images on the internet, enhances the use of images in our casual and professional communication. As well, the availability of editing software that combine words and images increases the turn to multiform rhetoric. Culturally, practices such as using emojis in text messages and emails, captioning photos, and posting on social media advance our ability to express ideas and emotions while using MFG. Lastly, recent studies on the importance of non-verbal cues in human communication have made us conscious of how we interpret the world and how others might understand us beyond the verbal signs.

Noa Yaari, CRRS 3/30 (detail). 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto

Since professional environments use jargon and etiquette, one would expect a professional community to apply multiform rhetoric “appropriately.” But what is “appropriate communication” in a world that is rapidly changing, technologically, and culturally? What is it in a world that is currently seeking “intercultural communication” to bridge between stakeholders from different backgrounds and traditions?

Noa Yaari, CRRS 3/30 (detail). 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto

In the upcoming workshops, we will analyze how people combine words and images in professional environments. Using examples and a hands-on exercise, we will ask: What are the meanings that I create when I position words and images one next to the other? What are the meanings that I encounter when I see sequences of words and images at my work? And how can I implement the principles of MFG to meet my professional goals?

Noa Yaari, CRRS 3/30 (detail). 2019. Mixed media. 21 x 28 cm. Toronto

Happy New Year!

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