Decamot of the month

11 Jul 2021-Acronym or Mnemonic?

A lesson in how to make friends and confuse people.


Carnegie Hall was packed to the rafters for this celebration of the life and times of Doctor Edward be Bono, the pioneer of management analysis techniques, who had recently departed this mortal coil.

As the creator of lateral thinking, with degrees in psychology, physiology, medicine, and design, from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, and Malta (his birthplace), it was no surprise when the first speaker described de Bono as having “more degrees than a thermometer”.

Whatever the comedic merits of the line, his timing was poor. Influenced by the sound of booing from all quarters, his peers had little choice but to hold up the verdict board which had one word on it.

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Another hopeful trainee came bounding on holding a slice of toast in his hand but before he could utter a single word of explanation, he described de Bono as “the thinking man’s Dale Carnegie”.

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He had failed to notice that all the delegates were clutching copies of Carnegie’s 1936 classic self-help book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. Insulting revered gurus was below the pale.

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Carnegie Hall was built by Andrew Carnegie, a 19th century Scottish American industrialist and philanthropist who became the richest man in America bar none. A certain Dale Carnagey changed his surname to Carnegie to win reflected approval. It was a strategy which worked a treat; as the next speaker pointed out, with such a contrived smug look on his face, it provoked the inevitable reaction.

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Potential customers rarely appreciate smart arses, as the next entrant discovered when he tried to ring the changes by laying on the floor of the stage for two minutes without uttering a word before leaping to his feet declaring that they had just seen a classic example of lateral thinking.

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The next hopeful entrant was pinning his hopes on a mnemonic claiming conflict resolution was easily achieved if you could remember IRAQ

Intense Research Avoids Quarrels.

Sadly, his audience did not agree or could not get the analogy or simply enjoyed putting up the board again.

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Amazingly, this precipitated a flurry of mnemonics; one of which caught the imagination of the audience as it was based on the classic management technique of taking everything out of the room as the first step before putting back only those items which are essential; but you had to remember FERN.

Forget Everything Remember Nothing

As a result, the audience, whilst they thought they followed the logic, felt compelled to revert to what they had been doing all along and promptly issued another:

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The final speaker of the day, the one who all the delegates had paid $1500 each to see in person, was Cyrus P Brilliantine, the CEO of Trident Training whose company had organized this “once in a lifetime opportunity”. It was part one of their unique three-pronged approach to sales success, the first session being all about coping with rejection.

Brilliantine’s entrance was greeted by a rendition of Aaron Copeland’s Fanfare for the Common Man which gave the star his opening line: “My word, I do believe they are playing our theme song!” Which was met with much sycophantic applause thus enabling Cyrus to launch into his closing address.

“I like to think of Trident as a viaduct. A bridge linking the hinterland of your secret dreams with the glorious uplands of your future success. Part one has been helping you overcome rejection. You have all played a vital role in this so please give yourselves a standing ovation as we move towards peak performance. Now, to prepare yourselves for part two tomorrow, just remember to be like DAVE.

Dynamic Aggressive Versatile Entertaining

What a masterstroke! Cyrus P Brilliantine had produced a mnemonic which was also a genuine acronym.

As he climbed into his brand-new Bentley for the return journey to his home in New York, he reflected on his good fortune. At the end of day three he would have the honour of issuing certificates to practice Trident sales techniques to 2000 new recruits. Next week he planned to launch Sphinx Training which he thought would appeal to the growing trans community.

One person failed the existing course; a mild mannered but confused civil servant who worked for the Department for Agriculture and Veterinary Enterprises.

He was diagnosed as suffering from acute personality disorder brought on by conflicting acronyms.

Cyrus consoled himself with the thought that he was no loss. He would struggle selling tickets on a bus.


Decamot insired by the following items: Dave, slice of toast, Iraq, fern, Bentley, ring, doctor, sphinx, trident, viaduct