I can’t hear you, I have a banana in my ear.

“A man sits down at a bar and notices that the person sitting next to him has a banana in their ear.  He taps the person on the shoulder and says “You have a banana in your ear”. No response.  He repeats the process several times. No response.  Finally, the person turns to him and says “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, I have a banana in my ear”

Very silly, so what is the point here?

The point is people often don’t hear what you say.

It has become worse recently. Ask anyone in a meeting who has been texting what the speaker just said.

Remember my post “The facilitator is coming”? at https://kwkeirstead.wordpress.com/2011/10/12/the-facilitator-is-coming/

I figure the reason facilitators are able to do such a good job is they don’t say very much. If you re-visit the post you will see that, mostly, facilitators just listen.  And, they don’t get accused of making errors because they make their clients do most of the work.  It’s easy to be a facilitator if you are good at it. [See note]

Motivators have a different MO. You and a group of your colleagues go to a venue and listen/text while the motivator drones on and on. The content usually is about the same as a “buy low/sell high” commercial.  Everyone ends up feeling “good” and the next day at the office is about the same as the one before the seminar.

OK, so the returns on verbal communication are not that great.

What about written communication?  This too, has become problematic across a growing segment of the population where a “composition” is something that has a character count of less than 150.

Pictures?  Not really, one picture may be worth a thousand words but with pictures there is no easy way to thread them together.

Videos!  Yes, providing they have a focus, providing the view does not look like the view from the bouncing space capsules that used to land on Mars and providing they run no longer than a few minutes. The nice thing about videos is they integrate light, sound and motion.

Hmm, are there any other groups I might manage to offend in this rant?

About kwkeirstead@civerex.com

Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, healthcare services delivery, job shop manufacturing and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2018 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
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2 Responses to I can’t hear you, I have a banana in my ear.

  1. J Thomas says:

    The hope in all this is to get people to think and take initiative. After all, if they don’t take initiative then does it really matter whether they think?

    But if they do think and take initiative, a lot of them will quit their jobs and start their own businesses. The very fact that they are employed argues that they are satisfied to not think very much.

    It’s going to be an uphill battle.


  2. Why we get so many hits on this “banana in the ear” blog post is a mystery to me.

    Anyway, re my comment “It’s easy to be a facilitator if you are good at it.”, this came from Senor Wences (48 appearances on the Ed Sullivan show). He used to have an exchange with his puppet, Johnny, where they kept going back and forth with “Deefeecult For You – Easy For Me”.


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