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IMHO. . .
Why all business people should attend auctioneering school

Don Burleson

 

Also be sure to check-out my tips for successful computer professionals and the skills of personality assessment.

When I was growing up I always had huge respect for auctioneers.  With a talent for fast talking and keen observation skills, the auctioneer was omnipotent, tracking bidders, knowing their likes and dislikes, and always watching-out for cheaters (shill bidders).  Personally, it was the articulation skills that I craved the most.  Personally, I believe that techniques like those used by Demosthenes are very valuable and that anyone can become a great orator with lots of practice.

After I became an antique dealer and an eBay Powerseller, Janet and I decided that it was time to take the plunge and learn this age-old skill.  We contacted the legendary Josie Graves and off we went to auctioneering school.  Ms. Josie has been teaching auctioneers for more than 50 years, teaching some of the finest auctioneers in the world.  At age 85 she still taught the art of auctioneering, and Janet and I were warned that she can be mean as a snake, so we had best keep-up with our homework.

The biggest surprise about auctioneering school is the super-pragmatic nature of the training.  We learned how to scan the audience for the slightest indication of a bid, and learned to judge the interest for an item by judging the expression on people's faces.  A valuable skill whether you are an auctioneer of a businessman making a presentation.

Auctioneering school is far more than just yodeling numbers.  You must learn real-estate laws, firearms regulations, automobile registration requirements and a plethora of state and federal laws and regulations.  The highlight of the class is our first auction where we practice our skills under the supervision of licensed auctioneers.  Janet sold a baby goat, and the bidding went sky-high when it became known that one of the bidders was buying him to eat!

The state licensing test is extremely difficult and in addition to passing the test you must also pass an extensive criminal background check. 

Upon graduation you receive a State license and the honorary title of "Colonel", a commonly-used slang tern for an auctioneer.  Personally, I don't honorary ranks like "Captain" or "Colonel" and the profane George Carlin said it best:

And who made this man a 'Captain,' might I ask? Did I sleep through some sort of an armed forces swearing-in ceremony or something? 'Captain,' he's a f**king pilot, and let him be happy with that! . . . "Tell the 'Captain,' Air Marshall Carlin says, 'Go f**k yourself!'"

Today I highly recommend auctioneering school for any business professional.  Its loads of fun, plus you learn many valuable real-world skills:

  • How to spot dishonest people
  • How to think on-your-feet
  • How to gauge an audience's interest in what you are saying
  • How to remove stage fright forever
  • How to articulate clearly and get right to-the-point

I have other recommendations for business success, but good communications is one of the most important skills.  I've thought about lobbying the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) to require auctioneering for all business majors, but they say that auctioneering is not legitimate College-level learning.  However, I'm happy to see research from AACSB schools, such as this research on shill bidders at Duke University.  It's just-as-well, I suppose, because I'm going to keep the secret within the family. . . .


 

 

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