Religion Magazine

Please Do What It Says on the Tin

By Richardl @richardlittleda

Excellence in managing…

I trained as a minister, but now I find myself a manager. Aware of the gap in my skills, I attended a seminar yesterday which promised to teach me about “excellence” in this area.  Unfortunately, it was something of disappointment…

Dear Seminar Leader

It was not your fault that it was my day off yesterday and I did not feel like coming.

It was not your fault that when I got bored and flicked through my phone, I set off an audio track which I could not silence without disabling the phone. That was unforgivably rude of me, and I apologize.


  • Please do not set the room up with round tables, and then deliver a 190 minute lecture format, relieved by less than five minutes of discussion whose feedback you do not note properly. 
  • Please do not, ever, under any circumstances, use the phrase ‘the wife’, as if you were talking about a car, a cat or a spare pair of keys.
  • Please do not keep asking (at least a dozen times) ‘is this making sense’? It makes the rest of us doubt your confidence.
  • If you are hoping to impress me with the great demand on a broad scale for your services, you may have to do better than ‘Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol’.
  • When a person whose English is heavily accented asks a question, please do not slap her down or dismiss her question because you did not hear it properly.
  • Please do not spend so much time on your pet hates, that you have to rush through the subjects of ‘stress’ and ‘emotions in the workplace’ in the last 15 minutes.
  • Telling me, as you rush by, that all this will make sense in the next seminar, onto which I am not booked, does not help.
  • When you finish 10 minutes over time, do not tell me not to put this on the feedback form, since you know it already.

I came with a gap of ignorance, left with a few tips, but ended up thoroughly disenchanted.  Nobody pays to listen to preachers, but I always remind them that they should not presume on people’s inclination to listen to them. Should that not apply to an expensive training seminar too?

Please do what it says on the tin



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