Considering how much of any reputation I’ve gained has sprung from my 1987 book The inner consultation (subtitled how to develop an effective and intuitive consulting style), I seem to have been pretty reticent on the subject of consulting skills ever since. In print, at any rate1. I suppose (i) I banged on about it as much as is decent in that book, and (ii) I’ve grown rather depressed at how much of a meal we seem to make of what ought, surely, to be a perfectly straightforward aspect of humane doctoring. Fundamentally – until we start trying to analyse, model and teach them – consulting skills are no different from the communication skills we all employ in ordinary social life when we’re genuinely trying to understand or influence another person. When we want to sell a used car, for instance, or get off with someone at a party.