Perkins & the Training Course

Morning, Perkins ... you're a bit late today!

Sorry Sir; frozen points at Berrylands again ....

Well, never mind; you're here now. I've got those dates for you.


Yes Perkins, those dates for your course!

My course?

You're repeating me again, Perkins ....

Repeating you, Sir? Just a joke ... but seriously, I don't know what you are talking about ....

Your training course, Perkins. You know, the one we discussed last week!

But I thought that was just a joke, Sir!

A joke, Perkins? A joke! We don't treat training as a joke!

But from what you described I couldn't take it seriously, Sir!

Not seriously? Perkins, I'm disappointed at your attitude .. All of us need a performance boost from time to time.

When did you last have one, Sir?

Look Perkins, that's not the point. The point is, I've booked you onto a training course, and I can tell you that it wasn't easy to swing it past the Training Officer. These places are going like hot cakes. All our top men are getting on board .....

But what are the precise skills I'm going to get trained on, Sir?

Ah, now we're getting to it. Perkins, have you ever felt you lacked ..... errrrm ... poise, self-esteem, charisma?

Well, it hasn't been a major problem so far, Sir .....

But think of how a bit more style, panache and self-confidence could boost your performance!

I'm a civil servant, Sir, not a gameshow presenter!

But wouldn't you like more "presence"? the ability to go into a room and everyone notice?

But I thought we were supposed to be self-effacing? Frankly, I'm very happy to enter a room and slip you the notes you've forgotten and not be noticed by anyone .....

Look Perkins; this is the 21st century. Things have moved on. You know the importance of giving out the right image these days. You're going to have your PR and communication skills upgraded.

It sounds a bit like finishing school.

Now don't be silly, Perkins. Quite frankly, you need to shape up, dress a bit more snappily; be more alert to today's PR needs ...

Has this course got a title, Sir?

Of course, Perkins. It's called " Developing Style and Presence" and it's especially designed for top mandarins ....

But what am I going to learn that I don't know already? After all, I've been a top mandarin for some 5 years now ... I seem to have got by so far ....

Look, we can all improve, Perkins. This is the kind of course that top business leaders get offered, so why shouldn't civil servants have a go?

Possibly because they don't need it whereas top businessmen and women do!

I think you're nit-picking, perkins. It's a really imaginative programme ... for example, you get trips to posh shops to receive professional tips on how to choose clothes that flatter your figure, Perkins - and by golly, your figure could do with a bit of flattering - and after the course you'll be more aware of the importance of matching colours to your personal skin tones ... how to sit properly on a chair .... that kind of thing ...

And how long do I have to listen to experts teaching me either the bleedin' obvious or the totally useless?

Now, now, Perkins! Think positive! In fact, that's another part of the course; developing your thinking skills to give you greater presence, style and impact.

Thinking skills?

Yes, thinking positive, thinking out of the box, thinking in the box, thinking laterally ... that sort of thing ...

And how much will all this cost, Sir?

Cost, Perkins? Why nothing of course! Part of our training budget.

You mean, it's free?

Of course it's not FREE, Perkins! Quality management training doesn't come cheap, but we've negotiated a bulk price with the supplier of £950 for the two-day course.

Let me get my head round this, Sir. If I understand correctly, the taxpayer is going to pay nearly £1,000 to some pretentious management-training school to teach me how to colour match my suit, shoes and handbag and how to be noticed when I enter a room?

Well, that sort of sums it up, Perkins, but you make it sound silly ....

I wonder why that would be, Sir. Ernie Bevin must be turning in his grave .......

Editor's note: The inspiration for this dialogue can be found HERE