I did some training recently that covered the importance of tone and body language in communication and I was reminded of this video of a patient suffering from an extreme form of fluent Aphasia.
This is caused by a stroke affecting part of the temporal lobe that deals with the conversion of “words in your head” to actual speech but what is incredible to me is the way that the gentleman uses his intonation, the pitch of his voice and his body language to communicate when he can only say the word “tono”.
What’s more amazing is when he is asked to count to 20 about 1m45s in. What did you think would happen?
If you haven’t seen this awesome parody video already, you need to. It’s a great example of what it can sometimes feel like as an expert in a meeting with non-experts.
Buzzword bingo, massive management overhead, ignorance of implementation details, solutioneering, management shutting down needed discussion, condescension, it has pretty much the full package of the worst the world can throw at you.
Of course it’s a taken to the furthest extremes otherwise it wouldn’t be funny but if you’re don’t think there’s a grain of truth to it, ask any technical person if they’ve ever been in this sort of situation and see what they say. It’s not that techies are geniuses and everyone else is an idiot, it’s just that without sufficient understanding almost any area of technical knowledge can be over-simplified to a level that defies reality. This is true for science as much as it is for technology.
The thing is, there another message other than experts have to suffer dealing with idiots all the time; it’s that experts need to be better at teaching and communicating to stop this scenario from happening in the first place. Continue reading →