Monday, January 24, 2005

Mandatory Training

I had a Mandatory Training Day at work today (or half-day, more accurately). Otherwise known as 'what-a-waste time day'. Listen to four speakers saying what should be happening, in an ideal world, and then return to our Departments in the real world where we have to contend with what actually happens.

As I said there were four speakers today. One was a gentleman, the other three were ladies. The gentleman's topic was easily the one in which people were most alert. And why? Because he joked quite openly about the differences between the dream of bureacrats in Whitehall (or in our own Management corridor) and our daily reality - a cynical smile in which we all could share. He was also the only one not to use Powerpoint, stand in the centre of the room, and actually speak loudly enough to be heard and slow enough to allow his words to penetrate. To be fair one of the ladies was very croaky, so it is perhaps unfair to judge, the other however were perfect examples of bad presentation. One spent the first 5 minutes trying to find her presentation on the computer, failed (someone else had to run out to get the CD) and then motored through it so quickly it was just about useless. And that was on probably the most important topic, Freedom of Information.

But at least she was audible and mostly clear. The other lady, who murmered along just as quickly, stood diffidently to the side like the two dozen or so of us might start hurling abuse. I mean, she literally shrank into the wall at times, her eyes nervously glancing at us and the projector screen.

Is it too much to ask that people presenting these things speak clearly? Is it too much to ask they spend a minute or two making sure they have all they need? Is it too much to ask them to stop treating us like idiots, and just acknowledge the fantasies they are spouting are pipe-dreams and nothing more? The gentleman was able to actually get a few serious and important points across, most of what the other three said is already a distant memory.

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