Three Coincidences Too Many

I think at some stage, I’m going to write a book called, “It Shouldn’t Happen to a Trainer.”

The latest instalment was inspired by a story where primary and secondary teachers have to pay for their own classroom supplies. See

That was the beginning of yet another training day from hell…

After several phone calls and multiple disclaimers of responsibility, I finally got access to the training rooms.

Fifteen minutes before start time.

The first thing I noticed apart from the dipilated unkempt classroom was that there wasn’t any stationery.

A quick runaround the floor determined that due to corporate cutbacks there was no stationery anywhere.

I ran downstairs and bought some much to the joy and amusement of the newsagent.

So far so good.

The next problem was the discovery that none of the three overhead projectors were working.

Another run around. I was able to find the only working portable overhead projector on the floor.

I was quite relieved. I began to relax. Because by then the presenter had arrived as well as the trainees.

More fool me. For when the presenter set up, he turned to me and as asked if I had a connector from his Mac to the overhead projector.

Another runaround and I found the only two people on the floor with Macs. One of them loaned his connector.

Up until then I thought this project was a bit challenging. I was constantly turning away the nagging thought that the company wasn’t really supporting the project.

After those three coincidences, three too many, I knew for sure. Upon reflection there was more I should have done..starting with breaking into the classroom…perhaps asking the presenter if he had a connector. 

The training ironically went extremely well.

The project didn’t. It was postponed. Twelve months later it finally went live. A few years later it was sold off and closed down. Three coincidences too many.

This Teleconference Has Been Postponed…

At last! Another opportunity to catch up on the backlog of outstanding work.

A teleconConference Call Phoneference! I dialed in, entered the meeting identification, my pin and spoke my name.

Then I placed my phone in hands-off mode and muted myself.

I knew I was safe because:

  1. I wouldn’t be asked to contribute
  2. I had very little to contribute
  3. I didn’t want to contribute
  4. I had a document to compose.

As people signed into the teleconference, I started to listen absently. As it continued, my attention wandered even more. Meanwhile people were dropping in and out. This meeting I thought was starting to resemble Tripp & Tyler’s  A Conference Call In Real Life.

But once the momentum resumed, I every so often stopped what I was doing and jot down a few notes. I thought to myself this was a very unfocused conversation indeed. Perhaps a facilitator or mediator might help. Besides nearly everyone else was on a higher level than me. And as I discounted that idea chaos struck.

My phone began to blare hold music. I looked carefully at the console. No. None of the lights were flashing. I still was on mute and still connected to the conference.

As the participants realised what had happened, a dull and boring meeting had become a hunt for a culprit. Much like school roll call, one by one we re announced ourselves over the continuing hold music. I took two attempts as I had unmuted and then muted myself.

One person failed to respond. He had received another phone call mid conference. And in answering that call  had placed the current call (us) on hold. He had to be contacted as soon as possible to continue the conference and save our sanity.

One of the participants suggested calling him. Which sounded contradictory until he added the words “on his mobile.” The meeting collectively held its breath (as best you can over Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries) and waited for the call to put through. No. He wasn’t answering his mobile either.

Which meant a physical intervention was required. Somebody must find this person and physically remove him from his phone. We waited a few minutes until this was organised.

“Are you near his desk? “Can you see him?” “Can you catch his attention?”

No to all questions.

“Can you go to his office and speak with him?”
“I’ll see what I can do.”

Once more we collectively held our breath (Ride of the Valkyries is a long piece of music) and waited.  Upon his return the hold music still continued. The culprit was in his office on the phone and couldn’t be disturbed (in another teleconference).

This teleconference will be postponed until a later date and time…


We Cannot Live Together Any More (To My Burglar)

I was burgled this week. After some thought, I’ve decided that the burglar and I cannot live together any more no way never ever.

Small change was borrowed and not returned. We haven’t been able to talk about this yet.

And a can opener and some men’s toiletries have disappeared. And I’m sensing a growing distance between us sadly.

Food also was taken from the pantry. I’m not sure if you will pay this back or buy me equivalent food. I’m still waiting on your word.

Some speakers and a cordless phone have been disappeared. Perhaps you’ve turned this into funds for as yet unspecified debts. But we’re not talking about this at all.

And I think that’s it I’m afraid.

If you do decide to come back, here are some suggestions.

If you do borrow things from me and not return them, do make sure that somebody else apart from you benefits. I can live with that actually.

Oh and about the food, I have vegetable seeds. Take them, plant them, grow them, keep some and give the surplus to the needy.

Social Media Simplified


social-media-party (Photo credit: cyberpunk65)

HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media I...

HubSpot Leads Automatically Get Social Media Info and Photo Added to Them (Photo credit: HubSpot)

Imagine you’re invited to a party.

You check the date, time and place. You get ready and turn up. You expect to be the centre of attention.

But when you arrive, the party is happening and has been going forever. Everybody is talking at once.

Everybody seems to know everyone else.  People will stop talking, join another group, talk for a while and then return to the original conversation as if nothing has happened.

So what do you do? You could choose a random person and start talking to them. You could choose a group and interrupt the conversation. Or you could wait and listen and when the right time take a chance to converse.

Welcome to Social Media!

The Conversation (Networking)

English: High Speed Business Networking Event ...

English: High Speed Business Networking Event by JCI Français : Événement de rencontres d’Affaires à très haute vitesse organisé par la JCI et l’association EGEE (Entente des Générations pour l’Emploi et l’Entreprise) en partenariat dans les locaux de France Télécom (Paris, Gare de Châtelet – Les Halles en 2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what happens after the introduction?

If the introduction is followed by an exchange of business cards then almost certainly it is a waste of time. I find myself very reluctant to exchange cards and will avoid it if possible. After a few introductions like that I probably will leave. My parting thought would be that I should have left all my business cards at the door!

I’d rather have fun and treat networking like a dinner party.  Much more fun!

Start with an introduction and/or an open question. Some examples can be (and I don’t spend my time asking the same questions over and over again) What do you do? Or how do you know the party giver or birthday person? What brought you here? Anything non offensive will do!

Then I may move onto the specific open question. And then I listen. Just listen. And bite my tongue as I can be a serial interrupter!

Then I might share an experience I’ve had that might be relevant. Or mention a similar problem. Or ask for more information. Or, one the things I enjoy about networking suggest someone I know who solved that problem.

Then I might check whether my information was relevant. Does that work for you? I may use the closed question!

But the reason I now enjoy networking is best shown by this story.

I was introduced to a recent university graduate. I asked her what she wanted to do next. She said she was looking at all career options including those outside of her studies. I then asked her what she enjoyed about her studies. She said group work was fun! I came up with a few ideas. She said I didn’t think of that and I’ll look into it. And the conversation ended.

Hey I had fun and I helped someone. Let the rest take care of itself!

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