Bitter? Nah

I spent a morning in a conference room listening to these speakers;

Two tax experts whose joint message, to my ears, was ’you’ve blown it now. Your pension is misguided and small and you’ll spend your few remaining years in poverty. But, if you know anyone younger who’s happy to pay our fees, do please send them my way’.

One retired (mid 50’s) millionaire with a hair transplant who has bought and sold over 30 companies and that was his ‘work’. His personal message to me was to get a time machine, go back 41 years, avoid education, work hard and all will be well.

Following Mr Pubic-Hair Head was

One tall Welsh ex, (but not famous) with intact ears and nose, rugby player  that had climbed Everest during the 2015 quake that killed 6000 people below and 19 of his climbing ‘colleagues’. Thankfully his passion and talent helped him survive and he made it back to the highest ever champagne dinner that he shared with his mates and the best paid surviving Sherpa in Nepal. He omitted to mention how many dead/dying bodies littering his downward path he assisted on the descent, but the good news for we delegates is that we got to meet him. Oh and did I say he delivered all this with immense passion and talent? I hope I did because that is what he wanted us to know.
sheep mountainAt this I messaged my broker and told him/her to buy me 20,000 shares in cruise liner standard vomit bags but before he/she could confirm the deal, the rugby player with the straight as a dye nose and non-cauliflower ears finished and there wasn’t even a joke about sheep (yes I know, I know.)

At this point the organisers played a video about a charity they are supporting and I walked out.

Some months ago I wrote a piece on STOICISM and I suppose that if I gleaned anything from today’s motivational morning it’s that my position hasn’t shifted.

The points above had two effects on me. As already stated, the money monkeys and tax tinkers just made me feel inadequate, poor and too old to sort it out. The two ‘successful’ men exuded a strain of smug ‘I’m alright Jack’ that made the Wolf of Wall Street look meek.

And as for the charity video, perhaps I’m doing it an injustice, but why wasn’t a representative from the charity giving a live presentation at the very beginning of the day? I’d have felt much more comfortable if this had been the starting point and backdrop to proceedings so that when tax experts hint at helping with avoidance/evasion and Wide Boy/City Boy reports how cushy his life is, the delegates would have had a dose of humility from the start.demotive

The event lacked humility. Conceivably it humbled down after lunch but by then, this delegate had lost the desire and was happier to buy a sandwich from the CO-OP than scrounge from the buffet networking with suits.

I have attended many business events over the years and never liked them. Until today, I did not know why, but now I do.

I went to these events because I thought I was going to learn something new but now I believe that with very few exceptions these various congresses, conferences, workshops and summits are built around agency pushed speakers that boast about how well they’ve done and how the hang-dog faces in the crowd can do well too. This is meant to be motivating but I for one cannot get spurred on by somebody that punches the air and says ‘Hell yeah’.

Speakers need to realise that the people in the audience are possibly uncertain, unhappy and even desperate. If they were successful they’d be elsewhere, not fishing for opportunities.

If I were a motivational speaker giving talks during this, the filling of the Recession Sandwich (2008 in the past, Brexit in the future) I’d say to the people that it’s good they’re still here because many of our peers aren’t.

If I were a motivational speaker I’d be telling them that this country has had no viable government for as long as memory stretches and yet we can all breathe (albeit polluted air).

If I were a motivational speaker I’d say ‘if you’re not in pain and you’re not suffering from mental health issues, you’re doing as well as can be expected.’

If I were a motivational speaker I’d say ‘If you haven’t anything on your mind other than your godless business and your focus on money, look at helping the homeless and speak to the tax authorities you’re so keen to avoid.  As their sugar daddy order them to invest your donations to support those with hidden and visible disabilities and if they fancy a fight, tell them to take action against the corporations who at once scare you rigid and simultaneously sell you coffee coloured tepid water.

Bitter? Not me.

 

artwork:

https://www.discogs.com/Yeehaw-Demotivational-Speaker/master/953038

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Travel Coach Weekend Thought: Meeting in the Middle

Dear Travel Coach

Our weekly agency staff meetings are becoming challenging because this current Pre / During / Post Brexit climate is leading to vulnerability and team arguments. How can I alter my approach to make people calmer and better?

Kind regards

Sean, Taunton

Hi Sean

  1. Fail to prepare…

Be sure of your objective/agenda before the meeting and any ensuing conversation. This will help you get back on track when the discussion heats up and gets emotional. People under pressure tend to challenge, blame, threaten, and curse. By knowing where you are taking the conversation, you can allow their (important) emotional outpourings, yet still move them forward.office 1950

 

  1. Don’t fudge it. The first thing is to demonstrate you are not fazed by the climate by tackling the key issues straight away. Subjects such as disloyal customers, double-dealing suppliers, and the Sterling unfriendly market really should be talked about. Even if you don’t solve the actual issue, the team will respect your awareness.
  1. Reality first. (Group) conversations include three elements; facts, emotions and suppositions. By starting with the facts (“profit is down by 26%”) moving through the emotions (“I feel insecure too”) and keeping assumptions (“You just don’t seem to care enough”) until last, you have a better chance of stressing your own feelings which in turn will the bring out the group’s empathy for you.
  1. Respect the varying speeds of osmosis. Otherwise known as learning styles, people take in information in different ways and at different speeds. Let them know they can say (or scribble or email or text) their piece at any time-it doesn’t have to be right now.Happy Boys
  1. Stay neutral. When people share their feelings with you try to maintain a ‘clean’ position. Clearly, you have feelings too but by showing you have no axe to grind and that you’re not being defensive they can unload more easily. Once they know that you have understood they will be much easier to communicate with.
  1. Common Ground. Great negotiators, sales people, and mediators have a natural ability to discover what they have in common with the other person. They invest time in learning about their inspirations and priorities. Once you have shown you are interested in the members of your team individually they will trust you more.
  1. Talk about real occurrences. Some leaders have a habit of placing bad news between a good news intro and a good news outro in the hope that it will be easier to deal with. Your people however are not stupid and would see this technique as fake. By discussing the actual behaviours of clients, markets and colleagues you will deliver a more coherent message.
  1. Have an agenda and keep to time. Because team meetings usually last around half an hour, it is vital not to get bogged down in any one subject. If a conflict arises, a good way of diffusing it is to make a note to return to it-and to swiftly move on. Do however deliver on the promise, people are wise to the ‘Let’s park it here for now’ lie.

 

Sources:

Office: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/05/a1/d7/05a1d7a8145eebd9a7e2e8b7d3bccb10.jpg

Young Men: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a8/ed/39/a8ed39051c6f6391ef6202094a7a625a.jpg

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