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19 November 2017

This is some light-hearted fun for the pre-festive season. If, amongst the many fantastic professional development courses you have done in your life, you have ever been annoyed by speakers who did not seem to know what they were talking about, or who used the opportunity to sprout jargon or blow their own trumpet, you may find this amusing. For digging out these most unusual and wonderful English expressions I am much indebted to Susie Dent, of Countdown fame in the UK.

Haven’t we all come across the bloviators, the blowers of hot air, who sell us platitudes and fads as new research? Who pavonise up and down the room (strut around in the arrogant manner of a peacock), when in fact they are nothing but panjandrums (pompous, pretentious officials)? Often they are ultracrepidarians (people who talk about things they know nothing about, far removed from the chalkface). Sometimes their courses, to which employers send their workforce at considerable cost, are nothing but boondoggles (useless, wasteful, expensive undertakings).

And even though we would much rather bang-a-bonk (i.e.: sit lazily on a riverbank) or conjobble with our friends (i.e.: have a good natter with them over a bite to eat), we have to become nod-crafty (adept at the art of nodding even if we have no clue what the speaker is talking about – a word that dates back to the 1600s). Yes, we become lickspittles, sycophants who follow the political wind, or at least adept at the art of niffle-naffling: pretending to look engaged and busy when in fact we are day-dreaming.

Some people get all excited at the thought of professional development courses and yet another Powerpoint: while we want to hurkle-durkle in the morning (stay in bed and pull the duvet over our head), they are always annoyingly cheerful. They are the grinagogs and the gigglemugs, people who always look on the bright side! It really gives you the mubblefubbles: it makes you melancholic.

There is one thought though that saves us from suffering from the fanfaronade, the shameless attempt at self-promotion, of the speaker: it is the prospect of quafftide, the time when we can finally feel entitled to a social drink with our friends. We should not overdo it though as it might make us look crambazzled: looking prematurely old from leading a dissolute life.

In the spirit of the upcoming festive season I end with some recommendations. Be kind, always. Engage in confelicity (the opposite of ‘Schadenfreude’), a sense of joy derived from the happiness of others. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t act like snollygosters (unprincipled individuals guided by a political agenda). If you can make somebody’s life a little brighter, do it. Take them out for a meal and some good old conjobbling.

And please enjoy the quafftide when it comes! 

Disclaimer: It goes without saying that I have, at times, participated in some excellent professional development and listened to inspiring and jargon-free presentations. And at other times, when delivering training myself, I have undoubtedly been called a pavonising bloviator and ultracrepidarian myself. Well, maybe not in those exact words.



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