Thursday, 9 May 2013


Soon we're going to do a little exercise, but I'll introduce myself first.” The Presenter said into his microscopic head mic, his nasal twang reverberating off the walls and the ceiling. I wouldn't have come if I knew it was going to be a 'Stand up, jump around, and wave your arms around' American-style of coaching; an audience shouting “Yeahs!!” and punching their arms in the air. I was slap-bang in the middle of a row, there was no escaping. I inwardly groaned and slumped in my chair.
What was he saying? Blah, blah, blah... My focus became fixed on the mic which looked like an irritating fly about to be swallowed. It moved with his jaw; up, down, up, down, oops he nearly bit it! I suppressed a giggle and continued to flinch from the squeaky feedback. What was he going on about anyway? I studied the leaflet, which had been left on my seat. I was attending on behalf of my boss and I hadn't bothered to check the details, apart from confirming the date, time, and location. It was so last-minute, I hadn't even had time to alter the reservation, so a name badge was now pinned to my chest which said: Dean Roberts, MD of All But A Few Limited, written in squiggly marker.
On the flyer, the Presenter winked smugly back at me; his finger pointed at himself as he speech-bubbled, 'Let me help you! You won't regret it!” His strike-a-pose looked forced and unnatural, like he needed the toilet. When men need to go, do they stand differently? I wondered. Women wrap their legs over, under and around, or stoop lower to the ground. Whatever, it certainly wasn't doing him any favours. I read the blurb alongside it:
Meet Connor Manning, (Con-Man to his clients), an aspiring author and small online business leadership coach. Gifted in helping fledgling businesses test the market and achieve their goals. See his famous 'Pigeon Technique TM' for yourself and use it to target your customers. Join us for this one-day event and learn from the Pigeon Master!
*Coffee and refreshments are not included.
Just another ridiculously expensive and useless seminar, where you join a pyramid scheme and pay more; sign up to their mailing list, buy their motivational books, and reserve your place on their next course.
Everybody up on your feet!” The Presenter commanded.
What!? There was a rustle of coats and bags being thrown on the floor and legs brushed against chairs. I hastily got to my feet. I didn't want to be the last in the room not standing.
Now turn to the neighbour on your left and state your name and tag.”
Eh, tag? What have I missed? The person to my left grabbed my hand and shook it.
Hello Dean.” He said peering at my badge, “I'm Matt and I have Conduct Disorder.” I stared at him flummoxed. “It's my tag. I'm a misbehaver.” He explained helpfully, “What's yours?”
I don't have one.” I replied nervously. My thoughts swirling, drowned out by the sound of voices excitedly chattering like monkeys.
Oh, sure you do. Everyone has a tag.” Matt reassured me. “See that man over there, he has ADHD and the woman next to him has OCD, I got pally with them earlier.”
As we resumed our seats, Matt whispered conspiratorially, “Everything's easier with a tag. They explain who you are in so many ways and allow you to people filter. They're awesome!”
The Presenter was talking, “Ladies and gentleman, you have just learnt the first step in the Pigeon Technique. Tagging people and products is an essential form of business currency.”
A thought just occurred to me. I tugged on Matt's shirt sleeve, “ I'm a Vegetarian.” I stated proudly in a hushed tone. “Does that count?”
There you go!” Matt said congratulating me on the back, “You've just tagged yourself!”