One of life’s mysteries solved!

The headline is a slight overstatement, but do read on. This is a good example of creativity coming from connecting seemingly unrelated experiences.

The mystery is why people from the United States of America are so exuberant: talking loudly, jumping up and down and exchanging “high-fives” for no apparent reason.

From my experience many New Zealanders, Australians and northern Europeans, find this exuberance hard to deal with. They feel rather uncomfortable amongst all the noise and frenzied activity.

One of the speakers at the Software New Zealand Summit 2010 talked about a networking group in the US and what a strange experience this was for a reserved New Zealander.

A few weeks later I was looking at the website of the American Health Care Association and there was the explanation just waiting for me to spot it.

Business-casual attire is suitable for all meetings, sessions and events. The Wednesday night Gala is black-tie optional. Please remember to bring a sweater or jacket for air-conditioned rooms.

Eureka! The reason why so many from the USA jump up and down and exchange “high-fives” at the slightest excuse, is to keep warm in the near-freezing conditions in air-conditioned rooms.

I have never understood why hotels and convention centres treat their guests like ice-cream cones – best kept near freezing point.

So next time you are in this uncomfortable situation, pause for reflection. What to you might seem unnatural and even unsettling behaviour , is in reality a sign of human beings adapting to their environment.  Given that such behaviour is deeply embedded and probably very difficult to change, there is little point in offering a spare sweater or jacket.  You just have to grin and bear it.

Disclaimer: this is not to be taken too seriously!

Simon Fawkes
Business to Markets Ltd

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