Saturday 30 August 2014


I blogged recently (a couple of times in fact) about invisible facilitation (here and here).  I concluded the first of these posts with the reflection: 'So I think we should trust our clients (who, after all, want an effective event, not a showboating facilitator) to recognise our contribution, and not worry about being seen to perform.'

I suppose that was always tempting fate: a recent feedback form from a team awayday I ran included this comment from one participant: 'Fellow seemed to be half asleep. Occasionally popped up to say something and that was about it.

That did make me smile, as it is exactly what I fear people may think when I work in that mode.  However, I was able to smile sincerely to myself (and not just wryly) as all the others who attended had a different view, and their feedback was that the awayday had been well run and achieved its goals.

But don't say I didn't warn you...

Monday 4 August 2014

Another Speech to Write

Avid readers of my blog will remember my agonising over a speech I had to write.

In fact, it was such a triumph, that the world has been conspiring to provide me with another opportunity, and has finally achieved it.  In just over a week, I will have to stand up as Father of the Bride at my eldest daughter's wedding.

Debrett's tells me:

Traditionally the father of the bride starts the speeches and sets the tone. It is a big moment for father and daughter, and the rest of the family.

- He thanks the guests for coming and those involved with organising and paying for the wedding.

- He may then indulge in some tales and affectionate anecdotes about the bride, before welcoming the groom into the family.

- The father of the bride's speech finishes with a toast to 'the bride and groom'.

However, Debrett's is keen to keep me in my place, both overtly:

- This role can be filled by whoever gave the bride away, be it a brother, uncle or godfather.

and also subtly.  Note these screenshots, first: 

Which, I think you will agree, is pretty clear; but then there is this, which tells the true story...

The expectations are high, of course, not least from Michael.  At Christmas he gave me Mark Forsyth's The Elements of Eloquence (How to Turn the Perfect Phrase), and he will be expecting every trick in the book.  In fact, knowing Mike, he may well have a checklist, and tick them off as he hears them.

Personally, I am tempted to emulate Savador DalĂ­ who, in 1980, at the age of 74, and after six months of seclusion, told assembled journalists: 'I shall be so brief that I have already finished.' But fortunately, like Posy Simmonds' George Weber, I understand the need for ritual exchange.
So here I go again, and to meet Mike's expectations, all I have to do is compose a few well-chosen words which include:

Alliteration, Polyptoton, Antithesis, Merism, Blazon, Synaesthesia, Aposiopesis, Hyperbaton, Anadiplosis, Periodic sentences, Hypotaxis, Parataxis, Polysyndeton, Asyndeton, Diacope, Rhetorical Quaestions, Hendiadys, Epistrophe, Tricolon, Epizeuxis, Syllepsis, Isocolon, Enallage, Zeugma, Paradox, Chiasmus, Assonance, Catachresis, Litotes, Metonymy, Synecdoche, Transferred Eptihets, Pleonasm, Epanalepsis, Personification, Hyperbole, Adynaton, Prolepsis, Congeries, Scesis Onomaton, Anaphora, 

... and of course a good Peroration.

I just hope Mike has the social grace, when he has ticked the last one off, not to stand up and shout 'Bull!'