"I'm telling you Jo, there is nothing we can do. We just have to put up with it."
I was sitting beside a woman with a crew-cut in a pub in Glanmire last night. She was fed up. The other woman, with her handbag open was agitated, fiddling with her lipstick.
I could see she was particularly cross - and on her holidays. She'd probably come down from Dublin to get away from it all.
Vodka & tomato juice out for an evening with Bacardi Breezer - I was waiting for my pint.
"We're just as bad. Yes, that Garth thing is a mess, and we can learn something from it."
"What is a good question. And we can enjoy Cork no matter what people are talking about. Yes the world is a mess - and we can have a good time. D'you see my point?"
"No, but carry on."
"Yes, we can carry on through the troubles - and we can come out the other side. Yes, we are not having the best possible holiday - and we can make it better."
"No, that's not where I want to be - but I can turn things around."
They were both smiling now. The mood had gone from sour to sweet. My pint went down easily as my ears warmed up. I love listening to women chatting.
"Yes you can - and I can help you turn things round."
"Yes you've done that before - and this time I'm going to do it with you."
Garth Brooks was completely gone from the pub.
The two women were up to something - they'd changing the mood. The penny dropped.
"Yes... and..." was talking with "No... but..." Everything one woman said was based on "Yes ... and..." Everything the other woman said was built around "No... but..."
They were playing a game. This was clever stuff.
Yes Garth Brooks, Enda Kenny, Dublin Council and hundreds of thousands of people are involved in a dreadful bunfight - and we can learn something. No, we haven't got the power to put it right but we can do our own thing.
"Yes/And" & "No\But" are good for changing the mood of any conversation, I thought - as my pint came to an end.
Funny, it reminded me of a guy I met in Chicago: Mike Dwyer - and that's another story.
At GeniusShared (led by Liz Strauss) in the Inspire Business Center in Chicago, Mike Dwyer created a collaborative mood in the room. We were beginning a tiny intimate working conference - and it was important to make a great start.
Weirdly & intriguingly, someone had said "Speakers don't matter".
So Mike was invited by Liz Strauss to step out from the wings. He began talking about improvisational theatre - how improvising actors are able to collaborate with each other - despite their differences. Basically you agree with what the first actor does and build on that. Multiply that a thousand times and you have a show which moves like a jazz combo. People riff off each other - building all the time - without sacrificing any of their individuality. (A bit like the BusinessJazz podcast used to be.)
Mike Dwyer called this the "Yes and" approach. People always looking for solutions - rather than preventing progress by "Yes but" (which we all know means No).
Making other people look good - Mike made a big thing of that approach. Means I build on top of your ideas, feelings & stance - rather than cutting across them.
Someone at GeniusShared used the phrase "Agree the crap out of them" - which reminded me of a clash I had with a solicitor recently (another story, for another time).
Improv games that help people collaborate - that's what Mike Dwyer specialises in.
It was Molly Cantrell-Kraig who introduced the phrase "No but" into GeniusShared.
Combined, those two phases seem like powerful clubs to have in your golf-bag.