above and below are from
Hugh's Ahaa! meetings hosted by Syngenta UK,
Nationwide Building Society HQ, Thames Valley Police Training Centre, the
Royal National Theatre, Broadmoor NHS Trust, Metropolitan Police at New
Scotland Yard, and Nokia UK HQ.
Note the big badges with big names.
It's the study of
So the Diploma in
Applied Gelotology sees laughter
put to work - in a seriously enjoyable learning concept available in 2012 and
beyond to benefit many
people in perhaps a couple of suitable companies.
It's a sort of informal, in-company sandwich
course for any mix and number of people - running roughly once a month for
6-8 months or more.
In the late mornings,
your company gets a thoughtful Thinking Time workshop/tutorial for up to 100 people on such unsung skill areas as Likeability, Curiosity, Consiliency,
Audiency, Interrogancy, Evaluancy and Advocacy. In the full afternoons,
there's a Wiser Writer clinic on Business Literacy for 1-20 people to have
coaching or counselling on communications skills in general.
It's awarded not to
individuals but to a company as an unusual thank-you and motivator for
many of your staff - and local guests you might to invite in from outside. Without anyone leaving
the premises. Though (thankfully) away from from desk and screen from time to time.
And as you'll see, one endorphin-releasing spin-off is to help provide basic education for some children in need.
The Diploma is fun with
its sleeves rolled up. Though there'll be plenty of laughs and
imagination-tickling, the Diploma is a way to develop and address
understanding of a
wide range of issues for people in most jobs.
It also gives everyone
taking part a bit of welcome breathing space and thinking time, away from
the pressures of their desk, screen, or phone.
The DipAppGelotol might have been the Dip.Brapp.Gelotol! Certainly it may have attractions
for a biggish Medical Department open to ideas. But the Diploma is big in
potential for further education and understanding throughout a company. (So
it'll need a bit of enthusiastic co-ordination and championing.)
The Diploma been created
by Hugh Gibbons of Just1, applying his many years as business writer
and educator, running over a hundred of his business psychology meetings,
lecturing for the MSc in Pharmaceutical Medicine, providing workshops for
a wide range of organisations, and giving dozens of public talks.
The Diploma is
a sort of sandwich
course with a difference - in content, setting, style, benefits, uplift and
It's not demanding on
time. There are no exams, projects, or theses involved. Though you decide on
the number of tutorials it includes, anyone can attend one or all as suits them -
and can print their own Diploma at any time. They can also have a say in
And all your students' fees are paid by the company.
There's an all-in fee
according to the number and nature of the Diploma sessions you order. The
only additional outlay would be for Hugh's travel and any necessary
accommodation, at cost. Given that many people and departments may
benefit, this fee will probably come of out a central budget.
All fees go direct to a
charity supporting a highly-respected UK charity that provides real-life
vocational education for disadvantaged children in South India. So if you
can't get your head round organising for that, then don't read on.
The Diploma would be high
on QADYs: Quality Adjusted Development Years. Six useful Thinking
Time sessions attended by, say, 50 people would provide you with about 450
people-hours of unique learning. The accompanying six Wiser Writer
afternoons attended by perhaps 10 people on average would give another 150
people-hours of practical counselling and coaching.
And what sort of company
might be suitable to stage the Diploma for its staff and guests?
Well, for starters, one
with senior management open to ideas. Well-organised. Largish - to get the
benefit of big audiences. Unstuffy. With a biggish meeting room.
Having an eye on the future. And not too far from Bracknell in the
Thames Valley, where Hugh is based.
A Crash Course
As a pilot course
to animate, educate or resuscitate
company conferences, symposia
and similar large gatherings, Hugh Gibbons also has a
slide-filled stand-up tutorial available based on his highly popular
The session uses a big variety
to provide serious lessons, understanding and appreciation of the human
of organisations today.
The material is drawn from the human side
of the world of flying.
So it ranges across such topics as the Flighty Women of White Waltham;
the one-armed, one-eyed pilot who ferried 1400 planes; Hugh's own
experience in training as a glider and private pilot; surviving falls
without a parachute; emotional intelligence at airports; the Extremely
Derogatory Order of the Inextractable Digit; and thr Wright Brothers
The session is suitable for international audiences -
though some of the verbals may be vulnerable to the time delay of simultaneous
translation (aka joke lag...)
"...with his fascinating paper on
Coincidence and Applied Gelotology."
HOW THE DIPLOMA
Roughly once a month,
Hugh Gibbons comes in at mid-morning ready to deliver a tutorial workshop; armed with ideas, tips, techniques,
questions, examples, stories, and exercises. He's with you for the rest of
THINKING TIMES In the
late morning, Hugh
provides a 60-to-90-minute workshop/tutorial that explores a useful,
unsung and often undertaught business skill. These can include
Likeability, Curiosity, Levity, Visualancy, Audiency, Tangency, Evaluancy
and Advocacy (as you can see below). You choose what you'd like to be
on the programme.
Each tutorial is self-contained,
suitable for pretty well any size or mix of audience - a dozen people is
good, a hundred is fine. They might come from any department, level
or job function in the company or group. And they'll also be OK for
you to invite outside guests to join in.
The session is not a
lecture - and the audience can expect to speak up, discuss, go through
some exercises, and generally give their minds a workout.
If you'd like to end with
a simple sandwich or similar lunch for everyone to carry on talking,
that'd be fine.
WISER WRITER CLINICS In the afternoon, Hugh will run a Business Literacy Clinic
for one or up to a couple of dozen people - at a desk or in a small room.
You organise who and what and where. This may be for individuals in
need of personal coaching, or a group, or whole department. You as a
company specify what you want each time, and Hugh will adjust things to
WHO MIGHT WANT IN?
in the company who can do with a little breathing space and time
out from pressures on screens, desks, phones...
Bright-minded PAs, Executive Secretaries and other support staff eager to
have their brain used
a bit more
managers wanting to get ride of some cobwebs or fixed ideas
executives who could use a little extra stimulus and broader vision
Management mentors wanting to get a better understanding of
some useful interpersonal skills
Thoughtful line managers seeking a new and different way to motivate,
reward, develop, invigorate or retain staff
graduates or recruits needing a little extra boost
From outside the company, clients,
potential customers or CSR acquaintances you'd like to be closer to,
thank or cultivate - invited in to be alongside you in an
unusually enjoyable setting
All fees for the Diploma go direct to the
Joe Homan Charity - the remarkable charity supporting vocational education
of disadvantaged children in South India and Thailand.
Over 50 years ago, Joe Homan
went from Ipswich to India, and from a standing start built up a whole series of
children's towns. Thousands have gained not only
basic education but valuable vocational skills.
Click here for more information on the Charity, its
work and ways, and its new Patron Chris Mullin.
As supporting the Charity
in this way will be an unusual good CSR news story about the company, Hugh
will be happy to help provide material to help you with local, business, and other
late-morning DipAppGelotol tutorial
on a variety
unsung business skills
The list below
will give you some idea of the menu from which you'll need to choose at
least 6 out of the 10 topics below for the month-by-month tutorials. (Or 1
If you'd like to suggest others not currently on the list, you'll be very
welcome to discuss them with Hugh. He may also be able to call on
You might also like to consider fixing
on a couple of topics to start with - and then asking attenders and others
what they'd like to see on the agenda next time.
Each runs for around 75 minutes, to
allow sufficient time to air and share ideas, have some 1-to-1 and
all-audience discussion, and tackle questions arising. So you might be
looking to advertise sessions as running from 11.30am to 12.45pm.
You just need to arrange a room where
people can talk to each other and move around a little, plus some form of
screen or plain wall on which to project slides.
To help raise interest
and maintain learning, it should be possible for Hugh to provide follow-up
or pre-course material - such as fun research into attitudes and
On the same day as each Unsung Skills tutorial, you get a
good 3-hour morning or afternoon session of coaching and counselling on
writing on screen, page and flipchart. Thinking and speaking skills are
included, of course.
You’ll just need to work out who’s going
to be there each month, and arrange a suitable space (eg a small room -
though 1-to-1 quiet coaching can be at someone's desk or corner of an
The sessions are flexible to suit your needs. You can
use the time for individual coaching, or tutorials for department teams,
or general work for mixed groups of up to 20.
All attenders can work through a
light-hearted on-line pre-course slideshow warm-up - at their own pace.
Each session is packed with exercises,
tips and techniques, examples, advice, and practice.
used can be your students' own writing at work, and other
If you want, sessions can focus on such
topics as Writing for Proposals, Briefings, Reports, Questionnaires, and
Thinking Time on HUMOURACY
Lightening up at work
Having, well now, a light-handed touch for use on paper, screen or in
person is a useful attribute for many people in business situations. So this session aims to
refresh and strengthen relationship-building skills by seeing how humour
has been put to work for learning in science, business, and the military.
And you’ll learn how to increase laughter at home and in your social life.
Thinking Time on INTERROGANCY
Putting more questions to use
Finding things out by questions
is an important skill for most people at work. This session
refreshes some principle about the range and nature of questions. It
includes testing answers and assumptions. The session would also include the
world's easiest quiz, the inverse quiz, and Thunks.
Thinking Time on
Winning more people over
face-to-face, on the phone, or on paper or screen, we prefer to do
business with people whom we like – and who like us. So this session aims
to refresh and strengthen your personal image and influencing skills. You
explore some of the factors involved in likeability – your own, and those
of colleagues, customers and suppliers. And being willing to help.
Thinking Time on
Being more interested – and interesting
enquiring mind and diversity of knowledge are valuable attributes in most
jobs. So this workout aims to refresh and strengthen your skills of
observation - and being open to ideas – through visiting such books as the
astonishing Art of Looking Sideways by Alan Fletcher.
Thinking Time on
How to improve your Eye-Q
to interpret human actions and interactions is an important attribute in
business. This session aims to refresh and strengthen your take on
non-verbal communication skills. You’ll explore visual acuity
training techniques, some psychology of visual awareness, and illusions
applied to business. And you’ll get to challenge some myths about
Body Language, and diligence.
Thinking Time on
Being listened to more - and better
audience is one or 100, many people need to be pretty good at thinking and
speaking on their feet - and seat. So this session aims to refresh and
strengthen your audience–handling skills. You’ll get to give and take
advice, and share some simple techniques used by top corporate talkers.
There’ll also be some voice coaching – for speaking and singing! And
a hint on how to be a good audience.
Thinking Time on
Being better at checking
Checking facts, words, figures is an all-important skill in many jobs.
This session aims to identify some common blind spots - touching on the
psychology of illusion and attention.
Thinking Time on
Being a better decider
to evaluate options and situations is critical in many jobs. So this
session aims to refresh and strengthen evaluation and decision skills.
You explore back-of-the-envelope appraisal techniques, the perils of
assumptions, the psychology of thin-slicing, and the value of diversity.
Thinking Time on
Growing more of your own ideas
to think at a tangent and take new angles is a valuable asset for most
people at work. So this workout aims to refresh and strengthen
idea-generating skills. You examine creativity, innovation and learning
techniques from some unusual angles. And you’ll touch on ideas in Hare
Brain, Tortoise Mind by Guy Claxton; Letting the Buggers Be Creative and
Getting the Buggers to Think by Sue Cowley; and How to Invent (Almost)
Anything by Graham Rawlinson and David Straker.
Thinking Time on
Being more persuasive
Being able to make and present a case - and fight your corner - is an
important quality in team decisions. So this session aims to refresh
and strengthen your advocacy skills, including how to take a contrary and
questioning viewpoint - a Devil's Advocate.
And somewhere in the cupboard
Thinking Times on
VOCALANCY - developing a better voice
interests and education
For more information at any time,
The Conductor of Just1, Hugh Gibbons
Write: 75 Qualitas
Berks RG12 7QG