Do not sell 'big apple' in 'banana' market

Kajal Chatterjee *

If you yearn for success while firmly entrenched in intellect, follow scrupulously what the title conveys. If your columnist is what he is, it is because he does not practise what he precepts as above, what with most of his precepts going over the head of most.

Yes, I am sure that at least fifty percent of what I say or write cannot be understood by the not so oriented, but I still continue with them in the hope the other maximum half will reach the untargeted.

I have brought this out lucidly through my personal experiences in my book "MY LIFE AN ADMONITION". It is no surprise that success flatters to deceive the recalcitrant in the school of hard knocks. (Possibly, again the same error!) The bottom-line is: while devil's advocacy lures with the Big Apple, playing fool to the fool is market intelligence that saves the moment, if not the day.

A barbarous idiot once threw a poser, 'what will the fish do if the tank were to catch fire?' A knowledgeable man, all about content and short on market intelligence, tried to convince him that a tank of water cannot catch fire, only to get thrashed. A wise man stepped in to save the situation and replied, 'O, it's simple, all the fish will climb up the nearest tree by the side of the bank'!

An intelligent man tries to solve a problem posed by a quixotic throw, a wise man dissolves it! The wise man here did not come out with the 'big apple' juice, but dissolved the nonsense in 'banana' shake! Big Apples rot in shelf in Banana market.

A cardinal principle in oratory is, you have to come out in terms of the listeners' experience, and avoid holding fort based on your own, else, the explanation will be fishy, the understanding will be froggy and the entire session messy. The revelation has its roots in the fable of the fish and the frog.

A fish went to a frog and asked the latter, 'Why are you confined to this small well, why don't you come out and enjoy the sea?' The conversation ran further on the following lines:

Frog: Sea!? Is it a well bigger than this?
Fish: No, Sea is not a well. It is an unbounded mass of water!
Frog: O, so large a water mass that you cannot see the peripheral wall?
Fish: No dear, there is no wall at all restricting the sea. You see waves over there!
Frog: Waves! They lash on the wall far beyond?

The fish got exasperated and left, failing in its attempts to make the frog understand the nuances of the sea. Where was the communication deficit? The fish was explaining in terms of the sea, and the frog was trying to understand in terms of the well!

The lecturer, Mr. Fish, is guilty of poor communication it did not understand its listener- and the poor frog could not be faulted for its selective listening. Such a harangue, sometimes, conveys diametrically opposite message, as in the case where a speaker was lecturing on the ill effects of drinking to a group of drunkards, demonstrating by throwing some live worms into a glass of alcohol.

On seeing the worms perish, someone among the audience exclaimed, 'that is why I drink, to de- worm'!

What happens in the play Julius Caesar? Caesar is assassinated by Brutus & co. Marcus Antony, in his bid to turn the mob against them, brings the corpse of Caesar with the leave of the assassins. He lets Brutus speak first, to judge the audience.

Brutus appeals to reason "I have admiration for Caesar's valour, and I have daggers for Caesar's ambition" which goes beyond mass comprehension, and the audience applaud without a complete understanding. Brutus, failing to keep his visor at eye-level, mistakes it as his success, and when he dismounts the dais, the mass 'adulation' "long live Brutus, let him be one like Caesar!"

"Let Caesar's better parts be crowned in Brutus!" rends the air. No words could have devastated Brutus more, for, he was speaking against Caesar all along, justifying the assassination! It is at this point that he realises he has been a failure as a mob orator.

A good speaker is not he that speaks well, but he who is understood well. Brutus has sold Big Apple in Banana market. This is precisely what Antony exploits, and appealing to emotion, turns the mob against the traitors.

With his market intelligence, he muses, 'O Judgement, thou had fled to brutish beasts, and men have lost their reason!'

What do the above anecdotes underscore? Those who could not carry their message through faltered on KYA (Know Your Audience) norms. While knowledge per se, unapplied, lies in content, creativity is about market intelligence. Creativity is Big Apple, but refraining from selling it in Banana market is itself a touch of creativity.

* M Sadagopan wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer, CFO, LOKTAK DOWNSTREAM HYDROELECTRIC CORPORATION LTD., is a poet, motivational speaker and soft skills trainer, and can be contacted on 91-9419255856 or on e-mail: This is an excerpt from his book "CREATIVITY THE BIG APPLE"
This article was posted on April 23, 2016.

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