"Screw up your bodies as tight as you can and close your eyes," Rob Parsons exhorts in a mid-Atlantic Welsh accent. "This is what stress is like. Now relax every part of your body but keep your eyes closed - and stay like that for one whole minute. I will time you."
The minute lasts an age. Metaphorical tumbleweeds blow across the vast silence. Feet shuffle awkwardly. Then Parsons is taking again. "Many of you won?t have sat still for a whole minute like that for 20 years," he cheerfully observes. "For some people here that will be the last time you will do that until you are 65," "Some of you will never do it again."
The realisation of what he's saying begins to sink in. Parson's uncompromising message is that there is more to life than work. In a business world obsessed by doing what ever it takes to improve the bottom line, Parsons is the exception. He is the guru of work life balance; the unapologetic champion of putting the family first. His best-selling books include the Sixty Minute Father - which offers tips on how to be a good father as well as a good provider.
Formerly a high-powered corporate lawyer, Parson's message is all the more potent because he learned the hard way. When his wife became ill when they were in their 30s, he had to recalibrate his values, putting family before career. In 1988, he launched Care for the Family, now one of the UK's leading family-issues charities.
Books include The Sixty Minute Father, The Money Tree, and Teenagers: What Every Parent needs to Know.