How to turn a workmate into a chicken

(and get away with it)

If you have ever wanted to have some fun, and make people laugh, then this is the story for you!

There is this situation that happens occasionally. Apparently, it only happens to me, until I tell others my secret… Sometime, somewhere during a conversation, I mention I'm a hypnotist. Something similar to the conversation below occurs. (Chances are you are not a hypnotist, though you can still use this by mentioning your hypnotist friend taught you how to do it.)

"Really? You won't use it on me will you?" They ask cautiously.

"Not if you don't want me to. But would it be so bad if I did?" I ask with seeming reluctance.

"Well, um, I don't want to act weird." They say a little sheepishly.

"Weird? What would be weird for you?" I ask.

"Well, like on those stage shows. I don't want to act like a chicken."

"A Chicken?" I ask apparently dumfounded.

"Yeah, you know," They then place their hands are placed under armpits, flapping elbows, "Bok bok."

I throw my hands in the air, a big smile on my face, "Well! That was easy!"

Now I know what you are thinking (didn't you know hypnotists can read minds?). Did I turn them into a chicken, or just pull a fancy language trick. The answer is easy.

Have you ever heard these saying used?
• "He's got his head on the block."
• "She's real clucky."
• "Look at that chick."
• "He's cock of the walk."
• "She is playing chicken."
• "He is the fox in the Chicken run."

These are some of what I like to call 'Chicken Trances' that we all use. There are many others. Humorously, it does point to an interesting idea that is often missed within business. They are metaphors that bring to mind certain ideas. The words we use shape ideas and the effect and results we aim for.

In business, when you are fighting for your footing as you defend against the latest volley from your competitor, the best solution is sometimes different than you expect. When you realise the hand you've been dealt contains no picture cards, you might realise your options are limited.

The above paragraph has a few examples of some metaphors used in business. These metaphors point to the mostly unconscious ideas, images and models that we all use. In The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge calls these models "Mental models". What are the metaphors that you use? Do you notice the effect they have on those around you?

-- Michael.


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