While studying psychology in graduate school in New York City, I lived not far from the 14th Street IRT Subway station at Union Square. The platform at this station is curved, much like those in some London Underground stations. There’s one major difference at this station, though: As the southbound train pulls into the station but before the train doors open, small sections of movable platform emerge at various points along the platform to fill the gap. The announcement over the Union Square loudspeaker repeatedly advises passengers, “Ladies and Gentlemen: Please be careful of the moving platform as trains enter and leave the station. For your safety, please stand away from the platform edge.” In other words, mind the gap!
The engineers of the Union Square station found a clever way to close the gap, placing only a small responsibility on the thousands of passengers who pass through this station every day. Perhaps, someday, somehow, we can find as elegant a solution in the realm of communication. In the meantime, I hope you’ll find useful ideas in this book to help you improve your skills as a communication “Gapologist.”