Seizing moments in Vienna.
Seizing moments in Vienna.
One of the things which may happen when collecting beautiful moments in public is that people don’t want to talk with you at all. This happens more often in spaces, like the park, where people are being used to strangers who ask for money or want to sell something. And in general one doesn’t like being asked for money. So when I approach people I have to make sure that I overcome this ” someone wants something from me, which I don’t want – obstacle”. In the Netherlands I didn’t have this issue, so in the last weeks a developed a few new and mainly city-specific strategies:

1. Show my cards and markers.
Showing my markers and cards makes a big difference. People understand you quicker and get curious, since it’s not quite common somebody walks around with 20 post cards and 70 felttip markers.

2. Avoidance of the word help
In Dutch trains it works great to use the word ‘help’. People want to help and with using this verb people are more inclined to do so.
But when being on the street people associate the word ‘help’ with money, since it’s used a lot by beggers. So the sentence “Would you like to help me by drawing a nice moment from past week?” could be confusing in a street context.

3. Language selection
In general it’s nice to speak the local language (or at least some sentences) and it provides good will. But when you approach people in English people immediately know that someting international is going on. Especially in Berlin, this proved to be a good tactic. Since beggars tend to speak German. So a good option is to start in English and switch after two sentences in the local language.

4. Depending on culture, skip the “may I ask you something question.”
In the Netherlands I use the “may I ask you something question” before I talk about beautiful moments. It’s polite and gives someone the opportunity to say no. It’s being viewed as a open question. But this isn’t the case in every country. In Austria for example this question is viewed as a rethorical question. People look really puzzeled when I pauzed after the question and sometimes even say “What do you want to ask then?”

5. Be explicit.
It can help to be very explicit and sometimes I just tell that I don’t want money. This gives a lot of curious faces and people are interested in what you have to say.

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