23 Feb 2011

The perspective of a baby in a bar in las palmas

This post is about perspective, about communications. It is very deep, I promise.

It is also about a funny, drunk baby trashing a bar.

An award winning short film called "Baby trashes bar in Las Palmas" by Swedish filmmaker Johannes Nyholm has gone viral, with more than 3.7 million YouTube views and counting.

Here is the author's synopsis, via NPR in the US:

A middle-aged lady on a holiday in the sun tries to make new friends and have a good time.

As with most things that go viral, the film has tapped into the big swirling mess of human opinion and perspective. In the comments on YouTube, you've got people appalled at the exploitation of the baby, alcoholics who defend it, people talking about how it depicts youth culture, and this rather perceptive one from waves2light:
This video does raise ethical and moral questions. But isn't that what art should do? Extend our perspective.

This is how most kids behave. She explores the world around her to extend her perspective. It's a learning process. This kid doesn't behave like a drunk. It is drunk people who sometimes behave like kids, forgetting everything they've learned ...
The reactions to the video are a good reminder that other people are not seeing what you see, not reading what you read, not hearing what you hear. Babies are like drunks. Or drunks are like babies. Or it's OK to use a baby like this. Or it is exploitation. Or it's funny. Or you are overreacting. And so on.

This is a lesson we need to really internalize as communicators. We have to know that people will see what they want to see in our work. But we can also be as clear as possible about our message, our theme, our vision to get as many of our ideas past the filter as possible.

Or you can be vague and provocative. Like this movie.

This is from a post by Wendy Mack, Change Catalyst:

Hundreds of others have said it, but apparently the point bears repeating: If you want your people to accept and support change, you must first show that you understand the organization from their perspective.

When we try to motivate others or mobilize energy for a change, the most important element is being able to connect with people. An authentic connection has a lot of ingredients, including understanding:

  • What matters to this person;
  • What is this person’s reality;
  • What is this person trying to accomplish at work;
  • What is getting in the way?
And to hit the way way back machine, like way back to the 80s, in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - which I just found in the back of our office library - you get this from author Steven Covey:
Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
I wonder what that middle aged lady in Las Palmas would say about that?

She'd probably just pour a drink on my head ...

Nathan Hegedus

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