I hate to engage in brazen stereotyping ... (like hell I do!) ... but all the usual seminar suspects were present and accounted for.
The Enthusiastic Extrovert:
"You work alone in the leaky basement office of a small INSURANCE COMPANY? That is so INTERESTING! You must LOVE it!"
The Giver of Boring Examples (who so clearly needs a good boinking):
"One way I have fun at work is I keep a slinky on my desk!"
No! You don't. Somebody STOP you!
When the instructor says your headline must connect with your selling message, The Restater raises his hand and says, "In my experience, I've found that determining my selling message and making the headline have something to do with the selling message has been a really useful tool. Just something everyone here might want to keep in mind." (Thanks, Alan, I never would have thought of that!)
The Copilot (Rhonda, in this case) believes she could easily teach this course, and she attempts to do so every chance she gets. She views herself not as pupil, but as valued counselor. She comes equipped with her own portfolio for the edification of the class, and offers us suggested reading. Her coworkers sit beside her and cringe. And did you know that Direct Mail is a monarchy? It is! Rhonda is the Queen of it! When she told us that, I just felt so honored to be in her presence.
So, there I sat on day one, doing what I always do: quietly, smugly judging. (And starving! You'd think for $900, they could toss you a muffin or something.) But I've got to hand it to the speaker. He was a Very Enthusiastic Man! And he did a stellar job of pretending to find everyone equally fascinating. Though, I sensed he was trying to steer clear of me. Because, let's face it: I'm poison. And he is a motivational speaker. This came to light on day two, during the segment on "letting creativity into your life." Evidently, the brooding artist concept is a myth. Creativity requires positivity! And negativity is a creativity killer! That is why, as a copywriter, you must strive to use (drumroll ...) Positive Affirmations.
You knew it was going to go there, right? Because it always goes there. It's not a seminar if you don't go down the hoodoo path of positive affirmations. It's what I'd been resisting all along. And here's why: I am a TOTAL SUCKER for the positive affirmations. I love those things. They get me every time.
So, our instructor starts in with his positive affirmations. He's pacing the room and chanting, "It's a great day! It's a great day! It's a great day! It's a great day! It's a great day! It's a great day! It's a great day!" And in less than 30 seconds, I was all, OH MY GOD! You're RIGHT! This day is EXCELLENT! None better than this day!
And then I gazed into his third eye and purchased a $495 copywriting "system" from the "resource table" at the back of the room.
Actually, I didn't. But I really wanted to.
He was that good.