Re: Serious Joke,Seriously "Help!"

John McCreery (jlm@TWICS.COM)
Fri, 25 Oct 1996 08:48:11 +0900

>As my cousin the programmer says, in the beginning give them what they want,
>after that give them what they need. Gaining trust and talking the same
>metaphoric language might to be the keys to the vault.


> The same is true of a quiet mind listening to what the
>speaker is saying, not busily preparing a reply before the speaker is
>finished. I suspect you well know these communication customs as keys to
>understanding your client. Alliteration also helps to sooth the listener and
>to pattern the prose.

Shrewdly observed. It's the mechanisms of gaining trust that fascinate me.
Metaphoric language is one of the keys, but a grounding in facts and logic
and skillful use of prosody are also part of the picture. I made a big fuss
about this in my piece last year in American Ethnologist. I've been curious
ever since if anyone else was thinking in similar directions.

>Story grammer may be that universal you refer to and what the literary
>structuralists describe.


>Is this story grammer innate or recycled script writing?
>Is there a deeper understanding of the client and consulting relationships,
>perhaps the client wants to be told about themselves, wants to be a Hero
>without tragedy.
Wonderful stuff, this. I have noted that the traditional protagonist
confronts problem, protagonist overcomes problem, protagonist becomes hero
frame works very well in presentations with the client's company (and thus,
by extension, the client herself) cast in the role of the hero. The
interesting issue is trying to identify precisely how a good presenter
pulls it off without tipping over into spoof or parody.

Is there, for example, any difference in deep structure between Dr. Martin
Luther King's "We shall overcome" and a Coke commercial in which the
flagging member of a volleyball team takes a "pause that refreshes" and
comes back to win the game? Or is the art in the occasion and the details
of how the structure is used to articulate it?


John McCreery
3-206 Mitsusawa HT, 25-2 Miyagaya, Nishi-ku
Yokohama 220, JAPAN

"And the Lord said unto Cyrus, 'Shall the clay say to him who moldest it,
what makest thou? Let the potsherd of the earth speak to the potsherd of
the earth." --An anthropologist's credo