Satan's training brochure, Fall 2007


Yes, it's that time of year again. The Unholy One has sent out his/her/its training schedule for the rest of this year and looks like another busy fall season.

I'm particularly impressed by how they are reaching out to less-represented but still critical functions. After all, everyone knows Sales rules the roost (just ask them) but ahhhh, give an admin a fish and she'll eat for a day; teach her to fish and you'll find something nasty left behind a desk drawer after she's fired . . .

Here are some highlights from the new catalogue:

1. The Ineffective Facilitator: Feeling Good About Accomplishing So Little

What you'll learn: anyone can set a meeting agenda and insist people keep to it while never quite finishing the task. Facilitators do it in ways that help participants go back to their piles of undone work feeling good about it. In this two-day seminar you'll discover:

  • What animal would you be? and other questions to break the ice and unite the audience (in mutual loathing of you, to be sure, but unity is unity)
  • Playdoh, Drinking Straw Bridges and Kushballs: Highly paid adults use children's toys to enhance kinesthetic learning and teach mastery of self by overcoming the desire to hurl them at the facilitator
  • What is said here, stays here- and other nonsensical platitudes: Time permitting we will also closely examine, "Many people find they can use these skills in their outside lives as well"

Who should attend: HR reps who want to demonstrate "relevance" to the business units, trainers lacking actual subject knowledge and managers checking a competency off their development plan.

2. Chaos Theory for Managers: If a Butterfly Flaps its Wings in China, Can We Blame Outsourcing?

What you'll learn: Anyone can set simple goals and work hard to attain them. The manager who stands out at review time points out the problems and chaos associated with seemingly simple tasks then demonstrates heroic efforts to overcome them. This three-hour webinar teaches:

  • Variable Identification: Any task can be broken down into an endless number of variables that can potentially threaten your goals such as "those idiots in accounting", "the Johnson project" and " that last downsizing killed us"
  • Threat Expansion: Participants take any variable and expand it to a project-threatening barrier. Examples include "But there's a Bank Holiday that week" and "This isn't in alignment with the corporate vision- we'll never get the resources". Pre work includes identifying the corporate vision

Who should attend: Any manager with less than an "exceeds expectations" on problem solving their last two performance reviews, those who have not received promotion in over five years and managers checking a competency off their development plan

3. Communicating With Difficult People- How to Avoid It

What you'll learn: Business is full of people you don't enjoy working with. Trying simply wastes limited time. In this one-day experiential workshop you'll master:

  • Email obfuscation: burying action items among detail, using re: please clean the lunchroom as a subject line for critical messages and other ways to avoid actually talking to the person while maintaining you sent the message
  • Timing voicemail: dealing with people is so much easier when you can leave messages rather than answer questions or hear their annoying voice. Job aids include tracking the other party's lunch time, and average arrival/departure schedule
  • CC: the most useful letters you'll ever learn. Including their boss on all communication ensures you'll eventually get to deal with someone far more important than the person you dislike

Who should attend: any employee whose school transcripts contains the phrase "doesn't work and play well with others", engineers wishing to avoid promotion and managers checking the communication competency off their development plan

4. The Effective Administrator: Exercising Godlike Power On a Mortal's Salary

Nothing is more critical to someone with an insignificant salary than their self esteem. Studies have shown that people with inflated opinions about their responsibility and power are far less likely to demand actual compensation. This after-hours program is eligible for tuition assistance.

  • Using Outlook to schedule other people's days and schedule and unscheduled them again. Special emphasis is placed on time zone assignment.
  • "I'm sorry, she's in a meeting" and 27 other phrases to block access to people perfectly capable of solving problems quickly
  • "That's not in the manual anywhere" strategically identify and withhold information from others to ensure indispensability. Special emphasis on passwords, usernames and who to call in payroll

Who should attend: administrators with bad feelings towards the new girl who keeps to herself, managers who...

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About The Author

Wayne Turmel
Wayne Turmel

Wayne Turmel is a speaker, writer and co-founder of The Remote Leadership Institute. He’s passionate about helping people present, sell and lead people and projects using today’s virtual communication technology. His books include Meet Like You Mean It - a Leader’s Guide to Painless and Productive Virtual Meetings. Wayne is based in Chicago, IL.