Happy customers’ comments: examples, issue 1

My performances have received some positive feedback over the years. I’m starting this series 25 years ago, and we’ll eventually end up in the present.

It’s best to let people speak for themselves:

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Australian Institute of Training and Development

Carlton Crest Sydney,  Sydney,  1/12/1992

Your wonderfully satirical portrayal of the ever-looming Government official was greatly appreciated by us all.

Elinor Crossing, President, NSW Division

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Yale Club of Australia

Sheraton on the Park,  Sydney,  27/11/1992

. . . a good laugh was had by all.

Dr. Duff Watkins, President

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Cooperative Housing Societies’ Association

Newcastle Town Hall,  15/10/1992

What a sensational hoax! … your understanding of our business and presentation, supported by comprehensive slides, was truly great.

Gavan Sheerin, General Manager

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North Sydney Boys’ High School

at the school,  18/09/1992

. . . the brilliance of your hoax . . . was excellent.

Ron Moffat, Chairman – Old Falconians Union

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Saint Peter’s Collegians, Adelaide

Royal Automobile Club,  Sydney,  7/08/1992

You . . . were an outstanding success.

Your style of ‘informed corporate comedy’ is certainly unique and a welcome change from the more traditional after-dinner speaker’s format. It combined that rare combination of wit and a well-researched speech.

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Telstra

Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Terrigal,  Regional NSW,  6/08/1992

I have to compliment you on the excellent material you prepared for us. Your after-dinner speech was riotously funny and certainly deflated any egos still floating out there in the ether.

Jennie Wright, Marketing Services Manager

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Australian Society of Association Executives (AuSAE)

Sofitel Wentworth,  Sydney,  26/06/1992

With the name Beau Rocraci, we tried hard to let our audience know that they were being duped.  However, you carried off the role of the insipid, heartless Public Servant to perfection.  So well, in fact, that people still continued to ask serious questions.

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Young Business Network

A restaurant in Newtown,  Sydney,  4/01/1992

. . . thank you for Dr Phillip Pitt’s inspirational presentation on the life cycle of young executive brains.

As I was in on the whole comic hoax, I personally found your presentation cruelly entertaining in an intellectual sort of way.

Ian Hutchinson, Founder/Chairperson

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Rotary – Sydney Cove

Moored boat,  Sydney,  3/01/1992

The hoax went extremely well.

David Scarlett, President

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Australian Business Monthly

Sheraton on the Park,  Sydney,  2/01/1992

‘Jim Kirk’ future-shocks staff.

A mild-mannered, big-titled, public servant, with ‘change-of-season’ coloured braces et al., shocked our interstate staff into believing that their states were at the brink of collapse.

Big relief set in when Jim Kirk turned into Rodney Marks!!  However, one staffer has since crossed the border (from Melbourne) and is now working in Sydney (just in case?).

Garrett Naumann, National Advertising Manager

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Rodney Marks

I’m an Australian comedian, comedy hoax speaker and corporate impostor. I present comic hoax keynotes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.

Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.

For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and www.comedian.com.au, my website. I’m based in Sydney and travel widely.

Hoaxes and Jokeses: examples, issue 2

This list is part of an ongoing series of examples of my comic corporate impostor roles. If I show 10 at a time, there will be about 300 posts.

I have a database with more material, including client feedback, audio and video, and anecdotes. When working ‘live’, the performance often disappears into the ether.

Here are some examples of comedy hoaxes that I’ve presented, with topics, clients, venues and joke-name characters:

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The definition of optimism at Baring Securities: ironing five shirts on a Sunday night

Baring Securities

Offices of Baring Securities, Sydney

Bob Austin-Tillbrooke

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The Role, Nature and Influence of Costumed Characters on Australian Television and in Everyday Life

McDonald’s Family Restaurants

Stamford North Ryde

Austin Tillbrooke – Organisational psychiatrist and founder of the Corporate Psychiatry Clinic, Sydney

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Standards and Best Practice in Networking and Telecommunications: lessons from for Australia from the US and the UK

Telstra

Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza, Terrigal

Sol Uszun – Managing Director, Communications Standards Inc., Washington, DC

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An update on the writing of the history of Saint Peter’s College

Saint Peter’s Collegians, Adelaide

Royal Automobile Club, Sydney

Austin Tillbrooke – Professor of History, University of Adelaide

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Education for the 21st Century: Vocational, Classical, Entrepreneurial, or all of the above?

North Sydney Boys’ High School, at the school

Christopher Bond – Executive Officer, Sydney Office, National Institute for Credentialling Education (NICE), Commomwealth Department of Education

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The Motivated Lawyer: how to be wide awake to your feelings whilst meeting the personal and professional needs of others

Baker & McKenzie

Offices of Baker & McKenzie, Sydney

Art Leiber – President and CEO, Motivational Optimism Inc.

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The international recession, confidence as an economic indicator, and learned optimism as the key to motivation

Baker & McKenzie

Queen Victoria Building (QVB) Ballroom

Art Leiber – President and CEO, Motivational Optimism Inc.

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Paradigms for Microeconomic Reform of the Public Housing Sector: the Impact of the McMurtrie Inquiry

Cooperative Housing Societies’ Association

Newcastle Town Hall

Mort Gauge – renowned economist, and professor at the Graduate School of Management and the University of Western Australia

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Valuing Art for Investment Purposes: When Is Beauty Bankable?

Northholm School, Sydney, at the school

Terence Meacham Senior Curator – Art in its Social Context, NSW Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (the Powerhouse)

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The Next Level for the Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House Trust, at the Sydney Opera House

Hans von Weber Strauss – famous mid-European architect, and director of the architectural firm Himmel, Utzon und von Weber Strauss

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Rodney Marks

I’m an Australian comedian, comedy hoax speaker and corporate impostor. I present comic hoax keynotes at business events. If you like these examples of comic corporate hoaxes that I’ve perpetrated, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.

Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.

For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and www.comedian.com.au, my website. I’m based in Sydney and travel widely.

A hoax is not a prank

The Encyclopedia of Humor Studies (2014) explores the concept of humor in history and modern society in the United States and internationally (see the publication URL below). The article ‘Hoax and Prank’ was co-authored by Rodney Marks and Jessica Milner Davis, and is one of 335 articles over two volumes.

Encyclopedia of Humor Studies (ed. Salvatore Attardo, Sage Publishing, vol.1: 137-40).

https://au.sagepub.com/en-gb/oce/encyclopedia-of-humor-studies/book235990.

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Hoax and Prank

The high comedy potential of hoaxes and pranks is partly related to their riskiness in terms of falling flat or giving offense. They may be rejected as not being at all funny, not merely by their victims but by a wider audience. Partly because of these serious risks of failure, when they do succeed without hurting, other than an acceptable loss of face, they are extremely funny indeed for all concerned. Despite this, many hoaxes are not at all funny, nor are they intended to be so: They are designed to further the interests of the perpetrators with serious deleterious consequences for the victims, as in business scams, swindles of individuals, and political dirty tricks.

This entry considers only comic hoaxes and pranks. Hoaxes can be amateur or professional. The International Society of Pranksters and Hoaxers is devoted to celebrating the art of the hoax and regularly awards a Hoax of the Month and of the Year.

Etymology and Origins

The noun hoax is derived from earlier use of the word in the active sense of hoaxing someone and the 2002 online version of the OED suggests both noun and verb perhaps originated in the magician’s mock-Latin expression “hocus-pocus” (an obsolete medieval term revived in the 19th century, meaning jugglery, trickery, or deception). Thus hoax may be a contracted form of hocus. The OED defines a hoax as “a humorous or mischievous deception . . . told in such a manner as to impose upon the credulity of the victim.” At the end of the 18th century, the verb form “to hoax someone” meant to deceive or to take someone in by inducing belief in an amusing or mischievous fabrication or fiction.

Prank is more firmly associated with humor (at least on the prankster’s side!). A prank may be no more than a “malicious trick; a wicked deed; a deception or scheme intended to harm, a hoax,” or even “a practical joke; a lark; a capriciously foolish act” (OED)—not at all funny to the victim. But the use of the verb form without a subject (as in “she pranked and laughed”) has meant “To play a trick or practical joke (on someone); to joke” from the early 16th century. The relatively new expression “to prank someone” was only introduced in America in the late 20th century and is firmly linked with humor.

Evidently the meaning of hoax is bound up with deception, humorous or mischievous, playing on the credulity of victims, whether successfully or not. The connotations of “prank” are with caprice and foolishness, as well as with more physicality to the trickery. A prankster is also less serious than a hoaxer and their foolish acts typically less well considered, more associated with folly, and usually directed toward a specific victim.

Another difference between hoax and prank is that in a hoax audience members are made aware of their victimization and given an opportunity to respond, perhaps with humor, with feedback, and/or with revenge. They are both victim and audience and the perpetrator remains on the scene to receive direct messages from them. In a prank, the victim may actually be let off the hook at the very end and is not identical with the audience, who may be quite remote, as in the 1950s American TV show, Candid Camera, showing a televised prank played on an unsuspecting member of the public.

In a prank, the revelation or dénouement is made to an audience that is separated from the prankster, who is likely to be immune to feedback or retaliation. However, in both hoax and prank, the humor of the idea or concept may fall short of actual implementation.

The related term spoof is classed as slang by the OED, which documents its invention by Arthur Roberts (1852–1933), a British comedian. It originated in a card game called “spoof,” popular at the London Adelphi Club and spreading from there to America. From this, spoof came to mean a skit or “send-up,” especially as applied to a film, play, or other work satirizing a particular genre. Thus it relates more to parody or burlesque although in today’s usage, spoof can overlap with hoax (particularly when used as a verb), but not with prank.

A 2001 April Fool’s Day prank took place in Denmark, regarding Copenhagen’s new subway. It looks as if one of its cars had an accident and had broken through and surfaced on the square in front of the town hall. In reality, it was a retired subway car from Stockholm, Sweden, cut obliquely, with the front end placed onto the tiling and loose tiles scattered around it. The sign in the window refers to Gevalia coffee, which is known for its ads featuring vehicles popping up, with a tagline such as “Be ready for unexpected guests.”

Forms and Media

Both hoaxes and pranks can be performed, although many hoaxes are not. In the scholarly world great mirth (and anger) was created by the 1996 successful written hoax perpetrated on the postmodern academic journal Social Text by Alan Sokal (then of the Department of Physics at New York University), who submitted an article titled “Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” Despite its woolly expression, 220 references and 109 footnotes, it was accepted and published, and the author immediately revealed it as a parody of an article, intended to expose the extremist style of postmodernist critiques of the physical sciences. In fact, as Sokal himself acknowledged, the hoax achieved much of its serious aim, generating a still continuing productive debate about the need to respect science and scientific terminology and the importance of clear critical thinking and writing.

In one sense theater and mime depend on hoaxing their audiences at least temporarily. For example street mimes playing white or silver “living statues” challenge passersby to argue about whether the statue is “real” or human (a pleasing linguistic paradox). Theater audiences are all invited to self-delude and suspend disbelief, projecting themselves temporarily into an imaginary world.

Music has also known great hoaxes, such as the BBC Chamber Orchestra’s 1961 broadcast of a modernist piece by newly emerging Polish composer Pyotr Zak (alias Hans Keller 1919–1985), subsequently outed as a “zakophony.” The successful deflation of musical pretension was praised by Durham University’s professor of music, Arthur Hutchings (1906–1989), who himself confessed to using newly discovered “works” by Paul Hindemith to test his students (they were merely a pastiche of the rhythms and dynamics of a Beethoven piano sonata with nonsensically wrong notes).

Other media lending themselves to hoax include print and electronic media. A notable example was the Columbia Broadcasting System Halloween program, Sunday, October 30, 1938, adapted by Orson Welles from H. G. Wells’s short novel, The War of the Worlds (1898). The program purported to include real-time reports from the Mount Jennings Observatory in Chicago, Illinois, of explosions on Mars (as occurs at the beginning of the novel) and highly convincing reportage from the supposed landing site of a spaceship with police accounts of deaths. Despite Welles’s careful introduction and framing to the hoax, it was unfortunately taken as real by many listeners, many tuning in partway through and missing various hints. In any case, close to the outbreak of World War II, times were tense and science fiction was only just beginning to be understood as a genre. As noted by Stefan Lovgen, the program authentically simulates radio operating as a news medium in an emergency and must be classed as a successful—but ultimately unhumorous—hoax. Welles expressed his regret through the columns of The New York Times.

In the world of visual art, hoax, usually for the serious and fraudulent purpose of making money, is rife. By contrast, a positive creative prank was played by American artist Hugh Troy (1906–1964), famous as a student at Cornell University for various tricks, including creating a trail of rhinoceros footprints in the snow using a wastepaper basket made from a hollowed-out rhino foot (although some suspect

Troy made up this story later in his life to burnish his reputation as a prankster). On February 5, 1952, he ran an anonymous ad in the theatrical page of the Washington Post advertising a “ghost artist service”: “Too busy to paint? Call on the Ghost Artists. We paint it, you sign it.” Heated debate ensued on the ethics of artistic fraud.

Advertising and public relations have often been subject to comic hoaxing, such as fake “old ads” promoting lifestyle items now recognized as deleterious to health, intended to provoke modern outrage (such as 1950s ads featuring cola for babies, seemingly endorsed by the “Soda Pop Board of America”). A set of videos online called “The Japanese Tradition” appears to instruct gaijin (foreigners) in the arcane culture of handling chopsticks with precision and measuring precisely how low to bow when offering abject apologies. These videos are in fact the creation of the Raamenzu comedy duo, Kobayashi Kentaro and Katagiri Jin (both b. 1973), who performed the Japanese version of Apple’s “I’m a Mac” commercials (2008–2009).

Urban legends communicated orally and via the Internet and social media are hoaxes that have no single known creator but succeed in taking in many people—usually quite harmlessly. A widely believed “real” story, which first circulated orally but now via the Internet and which is discussed in Jan Harold Brunvand’s The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings, is the case of the ghost hitchhiker who when given a lift home by a kindly stranger vanishes on arrival and is said by the family to have died some years before. Although locations change, the story is localized and received as true in each new time and place.

Hoax, Satire, Parody, and Pastiche

Many successful satires depend on temporarily hoaxing their readers before revealing their true purpose. Jonathan Swift’s famous work, A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People in Ireland From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick (1729), was deliberately shaped as a serious parliamentary pamphlet, published to contribute to the then-fashionable public debate on social issues that subjected them to fiercely rationalist economic analysis. Robert Phiddian has noted that on first appearance it seems to have been taken seriously by some.

Film and video, however, tend to deal more in parody and pastiche than in comic hoax: The mock-spy genre exemplified first by James Bond movies, and then by look-alikes Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (1997, dir. Jay Roach) and OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d’espions (OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies, 2006, dir. Michel Hazanavicius), are all deliberate spoofs whose humor relies on audiences recognizing the parallels and borrowings.

Contemporary Business Hoaxes

At its most moral, a hoax teaches its audience to think for themselves and to take nothing for granted until proven, as in the Sokal and Troy cases. Today’s hoaxes often challenge the seemingly all-powerful role of the media, as when in 2008 U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was induced to take a 6-minute admiring phone call from French president Nicholas Sarkozy. This was in fact Marc-Antoine Audette, part of the French Canadian radio comic team Les Justiciers Masqués (The Masked Avengers), who chatted about hunting, relationships, family, and politics before revealing his prank call, which Palin took in stride.

Because the development by the audience of a healthy sense of skepticism may follow a successful hoax, a well-designed hoax can be of value to the commercial world. Professional bureaucracies have widely replaced the past so-called machine bureaucracies and expect employees to think and judge for themselves rather than blindly follow instructions. Rodney Marks, a full-time business hoaxer and corporate impostor who has performed internationally, illustrates by describing one of his performances.

His brief from a corporation was to challenge the overconfident assumption among staff that their competition was handicapped. Taking this literally, the hoaxer attended a 2-day training event in a wheelchair as a management expert, Dr. Clarrie “Buzz” Claxton [sic], executive vice president—professional development of a plausible-sounding enterprise.

After convincing but fraudulent workshops, the expert socialized with participants, despite the occasional accident with a urine drainage bag hung high above his wheelchair on a metal rod, overfilled with warm apple juice and occasionally spilling onto participants’ sandal-clad feet. He also gave the final keynote address. Buzz began with the usual corporate weasel word salad, with more or less plausible analysis of the industry, the organization’s services and products, and a dozen individual “roasts” of the firm’s leaders. He summed up with “It’s hard to identify whether or not an organization or a person is handicapped, and if so in what way and in which environment.” With that comment, Buzz stood up

and walked offstage, to thunderous silence. The applause eventually came after several shocked minutes. The experience became part of this company’s corporate mythology, and the message of strategic humility was incorporated into its organizational culture.

Humor Theory and Comic Hoaxes and Pranks

A true hoax or prank will begin in all seriousness and does not draw attention to any play frame or prior signaling about its ultimate humorous purpose. In fact, the setup is deliberately misleading, establishing as thoroughly as possible false expectations of a serious event to follow. After such an introduction, sufficient time, narrative, or action must be experienced by the audience to convince them that the hoax or prank is serious before its pretense is suddenly exposed and the hidden play frame revealed. Unlike satire, with the unmasking of the hoaxer the hoax is completed. Any subsequent interaction between agent and audience is of a different quality to that which has happened before.

As noted earlier, one implicit rule for the success of both hoax and prank is that there should be no real hurt or serious consequences to the victims/audiences. It was in this regard that the Orson Welles broadcast described earlier failed, as many listeners were not only alarmed but panicked, rushing to church to pray or to flee from their homes. In “Buzz” Claxton’s case, the greatest outrage during the 2-day hoax was from those whose feet had been “soiled.” Once exposed, the victims reflected on their victimization, thus becoming their own audience, relieved and amused.

In terms of humor theory, both the lighthearted prank and the more thoughtful comic hoax depend on incongruity created by the recognition and experience of a false pattern of reality, which is then exploded. Like all comedy, the hoax and the prank indulge the spirit of fun but combine it with a power game as the hoaxer pushes to see just how far the audience can be strung along before the hidden fiction has to either be revealed by the hoaxer—or reveals itself to the audience by the increased unlikeliness of the veracity of the narrative. The taut windup suddenly becomes unsprung.

A comic hoax will often have a slow-burning reaction, with some audience members understanding it and others remain naive and unaware. Then a domino effect has its own humor, as the newly in-the-know group feel superior to those who have not yet caught on. There may be some interplay unsolicited by the hoaxer, as aware audience members tease the still-fooled by collaborating with the perpetrator of the hoax and supporting the hoaxer’s story.

With a good hoax especially, after an initial explosion of mixed amusement and outrage, there is a period of critical reflection. Ideally this leads to acknowledgment—hopefully correction—of errors such as gullibility and excessive obedience to surface appearances. Certainly this is what is intended by the professional hoaxer. A prank, however, may have little critical or satirical intent, other than obliging the victim to put up with being laughed at.

Rodney Marks and Jessica Milner Davis

Further Readings

Brunvand, J. H. (1981). The vanishing hitchhiker: American urban legends and their meanings. New York, NY: Norton.

Hutchings, A. (1961, October). Personal view: 2. Du côté de chez Zak. Musical Times, 102(1424), 623–624.

Jones, M., Craddock, P., & Barker, N. (Eds.). (1990). Fake? The art of deception. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Kurose, Y. (2011, September 13). Meet the comedy duo

Rahmens. Retrieved November 2, 2012, from http://injapan.gaijinpot.com/play/arts-entertainment/2011/09/13/meet-the-comedy-duo-rahmens

Lovgen, S. (2005). “War of the Worlds”: Behind the 1938 radio show panic. National Geographic News. Retrieved October 16, 2012, from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/06/0617_050617_warworlds.html

Phiddian, R. (1996). Have you eaten yet? The reader in “A Modest Proposal.” Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900, 36, 623–631.

Powell, B. A. (2010, July 16). Vintage soda ads: Can you spot the fake? Grist. Retrieved November 2, 2012, from http://grist.org/article/food-vintage-soda-ads-can-youspot-the-fake/full

Sokal, A. D. (2008). Beyond the hoax: Science, philosophy and culture. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Trojan enterprise. (1952, February 18). Time. Retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,822152,00.html

Website

Rodney Marks: http://www.comedian.com.au.

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Rodney Marks

I am an Australian comedian, comedy hoax speaker and corporate impostor. I present comic hoax keynotes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.

Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.

For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and website: www.comedian.com.au. I’m based in Sydney and travel widely.

Management Contradictionary: climate change to company car

We continue the episodic publication of The Management Contradictionary (Benjamin Marks, Rodney Marks, and Robert Spillane. Michelle Anderson Publishing: Melbourne).

It’s available in all good libraries, and quite a few bad ones, too. The book is in alphabetical order, so feel free to keep reading the blog posts – past, present and future – from eh? to zzz.

The Management Contradictionary defines the real meaning behind management terms.

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climate change

When culture change fails, and change management doesn’t work, contemporary business leaders use climate change to deflect analysis and criticism of internal organisational issues, in much the same way that government leaders use war, poverty, refugees, Third World debt and – climate change.

CLM

  1. Career Limiting Move
  2. Customer Lifecycle Management
  3. Closed Loop Marketing
  4. Called, Left Message
  5. Continuous Learning Module
  6. Common Law Marriage
  7. Critical thinking
  8. Thought leadership
  9. Insubordination
  10. Resignation.

club

Tribal meeting place where non-members are beaten about the head.

coach

  1. Out-sorcerer of a manager’s psyche.
  2. Someone who assists a manager in the dereliction of his duty to delegate one of the few non-delegatable tasks in his job description.
  3. Management consultant who improves organisations person by person, and charges accordingly.

coercion

Persuasion by your manager.

cognitive intelligence

The ability to conceptualise a profit when one doesn’t exist, in the face of the facts being drawn to your attention by the clearly unintelligent.

cold call

Asking people you don’t know for work, on the basis that people who do know you don’t want to work with you. Good practice for pre‑Alzheimer executives.

collaboration

You doing what I tell you to do, in a timely fashion.

colleague

A competitor known to you by his first name, often working in your organisation and vying with you for promotion and other perks.

collusion

An off-the-record deal, the unremarkable lifeblood of competitive behaviour, which inconveniently becomes public knowledge.

comfort zone

Cosy corner from which managers are required to proactively move forward by thinking laterally, innovatively and creatively, outside the nine dots and beyond the circle.

commerce

Horse-trading by the top end of town.

commitment

Evidence of managerial madness manifested as a consent to accountability; punished by being straight-jacketed in a bureaucracy until cured by a dose of lucidity.

committee

A group of expendable employees whose role is to act as a collective scapegoat.

communication

Me telling you.

community

Chance to get away from yourself.

company car

A vehicle for minimising personal income tax whilst transporting you to another place.

(See salary packaging)

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Rodney Marks

I’m an Australian corporate comedian, performing comic hoaxes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.

Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.

For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and website: www.comedian.com.au. I’m based in Sydney and travel widely.

Management Contradictionary: basic to body language

We continue the episodic publication of The Management Contradictionary (Benjamin Marks, Rodney Marks, and Robert Spillane. Michelle Anderson Publishing: Melbourne).

It’s available in all good libraries, and quite a few bad ones, too. It’s in alphabetical order, so feel free to keep reading the blog posts until you get to z, or zzz.

The Management Contradictionary defines the real meaning behind management terms.

basic

An entry level standard that can be used as the benchmark for charging more for an acceptable model.

bear market

Environment in which shares are traded on the basis of share-traders not believing the bull received from companies.

behaviourism

In managerial psychology, the view that the mind studies mindless behaviour. The brainchild of a group of American psychologists whose disbelief in the human psyche led them to worship rats and pigeons.

behaviour

What you do before you’re caught at it.

behavioural science

(See misbehavioural science.)

behaviourism

In managerial psychology, the view that the mind studies mindless behavior. The brainchild of a group of American psychologists whose disbelief in the human psyche led them to worship dogs, rats and pigeons.

below-the-line

Paid and unpaid promotion over which you pretend to have control, such as PR, in-store offers and direct selling.

benchmarking

An arbitrary standard, without a bench or marking.

benefit

Something believed to be more valuable than the cost.

best practice

  1. The quality standard to refer to when you’ve been caught out merely benchmarking.
  2. The standard asserted when it’s not self-evident.

bias

Rolling towards my centre and away from yours.

big business

Allusion to the fallacy that all large corporations have aligned financial interests and shared views on public policy.

big picture

A larger frame to refer to if the data doesn’t support your vision.

bill

  • Invoicing process, especially useful to expedite in advance, as in the accountants’ triple mantra:
    1. Bill early, pay late
    2. Buy low, sell high
    3. Cash is king.
  • Gentle reminder by a supplier about money that they believe that you might owe them.

blue-collar

The uniform of the working class, worn so that they will not be inadvertently distracted from making and fixing stuff by being asked to fill in forms, such as tax invoices or receipts.

board of directors

Group of mainly men who went to the same private school last millennium, have shared values and world views, and can easily substitute for each other should golf or sailing or overseas holidays or divorce proceedings interfere with attendance at meetings.

body language

The discourse of dubious, doubtful descriptions posturing as science, and the body of attitudes gesturing towards meaningful symbols.

…   …   …   …   …   …

Rodney Marks

I’m an Australian corporate comedian, performing comic hoaxes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.

I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical. Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks.

I’m based in Sydney and travel widely. For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and website: www.comedian.com.au.