We shall gather by Trevor Plumbly
Bringing in the sheaves
I’m not much of a one for meetings, especially those prefaced as being ‘strategic’. Sadly, as with others I’ve felt obliged to attend, this one dumped about a hundred pages of electronic verbiage on me prior to the great day of enlightenment.
This ‘info pack’ (already I’m using their language) would have swelled the hearts of devotees of the obscure, full of verbal titbits like ‘finding your narrative’ and ‘self-objectives’. To lessen the possibility of an IT induced migraine, I considered converting the stuff to paper, but decided that even dead trees are entitled to their sensitivities. Winging it seemed the best way to go: ignore the feel-good cryptograms, get in there with an uncluttered brain and absorb the essentials; they might write the stuff but surely nobody actually speaks it.
All things bright and beautiful
Day one: despite being armed with my cleansed brain and open mind, it soon became apparent that I was hopelessly outmatched. ‘Facilitators’ introduced themselves; lecturers obviously ain’t sexy when it comes to inspirational motivation. The facilitators hopped on and off stage with all the alacrity of a Broadway chorus line, delivering the message with a breathless enthusiasm that suggested a heavenly tutor or a supply of stimulants backstage. Peppering us with a myriad negotiating nuggets, they taught us all sorts of stuff that used car dealers and telemarketers take for granted and at the end of the first day, there was no way I was going to let anyone ‘depersonalise my objectives’.
All things wise and wonderful
Day two: batteries charged, the ‘facilitators’ moved into interaction mode. This delightful piece of Americana involved me playing the part of someone else in a scripted situation; logic suggested that, if it was important for me to be someone else, why wasn’t he there instead of me? I felt that this theory might have added value for open discussion, but Mother’s advice prevailed: ‘Never argue with anyone that uses big words’. As the day progressed, I did learn that interaction has a strange effect on people: some reduced to embarrassed mumbling, others elevated to Shakespearean heights. It was an interesting experience, falling somewhere between a gospel revival and an insurance sales conference. Whoever said ‘the shortest distance between two points is a straight line’, obviously didn’t attend meetings. Outside, relishing my untainted ‘personal objectivity’, I drank in the daylight and muttered (sotto voce of course): ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!