Comedy and Communication

02 August 2009

I was watching one of my favourite comedy shows the other day which, as usual, described the antics of the four main characters. Then, a new character was introduced; the comedy continued but five minutes later, a second new character was introduced. Mistake - the comedy ground to a halt. What the scriptwriters had failed to realise was that when adding one new character to four established ones, the audience had to adjust, not just to one new character, but to four new communication interactions, each with its own comic potential. The second new character was introduced before these interactions could be explored properly. Of course, the second new character introduced five new interactions – coping with this was too much for the script to contain and the whole thing lost momentum.

It's worth bearing this in mind when bringing in a new person to an established team. If possible, allow time for the communication links to be established before introducing a second new person.

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