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National Marshmallow Roasters Institute

Communication Consulting  

Look for Common Prizes™ ... not compromises

In your relationships with coworkers, customers, business partners and rivals, and in your own personal relationships, don't settle for compromises. Look for the Common Prizes™!

NMR Institute - A Virtual Think Tank

The NMR Institute, a virtual think tank, was born, literally, around a campfire roasting marsmallows in northern Michigan. Little did we know then that a simple marshmallow roast would become the quintessential  paradyme for improving relationships between significant others, parents and children, management and employees, companies and clients, the people and representative government, and between nations. We have found the common thread, the be all and end all, the yin and the yang, the level 5 maturity, if you will, of interpersonal, intergovernmental, international, and intergalactic communication*. We call it the Common Prizes philosophy.

We will soon begin to develop our communications model for the SETI Institute. SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) is the name for a number of organized efforts to detect Extra-Terrestrial life. And when we make contact, we'll need those Common Prizes.

Where are the Common Prizes™

Common Prizes™ are not hard to find. It just takes a little thought and a desire to bring out the best in everyone. We may not always agree, but we can agree that we are all trying to make our jobs more satisfying, our relationships more fulfilling, our marshmallow roasts more endearing, and our world a better place to live. And those are very big prizes.

To start off, we’ve listed just a few of the basic Common Prizes™ below that may seem a bit academic, but really are the foundation upon which all our prizes rest.

Food and Drink
Freedom from fear

Did you recognize some of Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in those basic prizes? Henry David Thoreau touched on the philosophy in Walden, as well. And Maslow, when he wrote about self actualization, and confidence and respect of others and for others, was writing about the foundation of the Common Prizes™ philosophy that we teach in our seminars. And that we call it "Roast the Mallow!"

Jerry Grinstead leads the Common Prizes™ "Roast the Mallow" management seminars. Standing-room only is typical for these lively, informative, and often life-changing events.

"I wish all our training was as meaningful as this! I'm sending all our staff, from producers to grips, to the NMR Institute seminars!"
-  Barry Kemerer, President
   MaxIM films, Ltd.

The Common Prizes™ we all should be looking for are specific to our needs, designed to foster collaboration and cooperation, and minimize compromise. When you choose compromise, you must give up something, or ask that others give up something.

Yes, there are times when negotiations or deals or relationships break down. Fisher, Ury, & Patton in Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In provide one of the best outlines for negotiating agreements. But in reality, most of our everyday conflicts, bargains, business deals and relationship issues are not multi-million dollar deals or intricately woven contractual agreements or treaties. Our conflicts simply reflect our attempts to meet our current needs and the needs of others with whom we work, deal, live and love. We just need to "Roast the Mallow".

We provide consultation and seminars in the following areas:

  • The Common Prizes™ of highly successful teams

  • A team of one

  • Train-the-Trainer

  • Leadership and Managing Change

  • Communication and Recognition

  • Customer Focused Partnerships

  • Cultural Transformation

  • "It is never too late to give up our prejudices" - Searching for the Common Prizes™ based on Thoreau's teachings

  • Clear and concise business communication

  • Basic marshmallow roasting skills to immediately improve your ranking

  • Facilitating successful meetings, agreements and roasting events

  • Teambuilding - Get the best from your roasters and staff

  • How Roasting enhances organizational communications

  • How to ask questions that people want to answer

  • Listening - so people will hear what you say

  • Focusing on the problem, not the people - Conflict Resolution in the workplace and at sanctioned NMRI roasting events

  • Do what you say/Say what you do - Quality Communications that work

  • Finding time for leisure in the workplace - Lunchtime roasting

  • The secret to success - "Roast the Mallow"

Many other topics are covered in each one of our trainings. We never know what we will learn from you, but we come away knowing  much, if not more, than we teach.

A wise man once said:   

"You cannot NOT communicate."

What does communication have to do with marshmallow roasting? That is the 62-dollar question. Our research has found marshmallow roasting to be a fundamentally clear example of the Common Prizes philosophy that is shared in our seminars. Marshmallow roasts are simple and valuable team and individual events (akin to a high-school cross-country team) that quickly get everyone together to teach each other, learn from one another and have fun together. Just as we come together in the race, the workplace and in our families. Our actions affect even those apart from us, too.

Perhaps Robert Frost said it best in The Tuft of Flowers:

"Men work together," I told him from the heart
"Whether they work together or apart."

He was speaking of the impact of someone else's work on him and on the world. Our work is important, especially when we understand its effects on others, as we apparently work alone. This knowledge of how our work and actions impact others is fundamental to understanding humanity and finding the Common Prizes.

Another example of our philosophy is illustrated in the slogan:

"An army of one"

The U.S. Army emphasizes the importance of each soldier's job and duty as an important contribution to the platoon, company, brigade and to the nation. Whether you are a cook, a helicopter pilot, or the brigade commander, this is very effective marketing, even if a wee bit of hyperbole. One must attempt to not cross too boldly over the line into marketing when seeking the Common Prizes.

In our seminars, we'll have fun while we answer a slew of questions about team identification (not team building), motivating yourself (before motivating others), listening to yourself (and then to each other), and finding the Common Prizes (not the compromises) in our everyday lives -- together and apart.

The National Marshmallow Roasters Institute

(916) 712-8791

The NMR Institute © 2007/2008 | All Rights Reserved
IL'Institut  internationale des rôtissoires des Guimauves
© 2007/2008 | Droits de reproduction et de diffusion réservés

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Mr. Mallow answers questions:

Emily asked in her email: Any tricks for how to remove melted (and now dried) marshmallow from fabric?

Mr. Mallow answers:  Marshmallows are water-based so a water-based cleaner may help. Dried marshmallows can be tough to remove from fabric. I would use very hot water (not quite boiling) so that the hard mallow can dissolve while it is cleansed.

Emily wrote back:  Thanks for the reply.

Hot water and an old toothbrush got it right out!  Who knew?

Bobbi asked in an email: Are lava roasted marshmallows toxic.  I have heard that breathing fumes from lava can be carcinogenic. 

Thx, Bobbi

Mr. Mallow answers:  The biggest danger is just being around molten lava. Here is safety information from the USGS. http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2000/

Toxic fumes were a concern for us. We've found that all marshmallows, as they are roasted, actually expand, releasing their own gasses while browning, that prevent fumes from entering or collecting on the surface. It is the heat only, that browns the marshmallows, and any fumes in the area were not found to be present in any measurable amount on the roasted marshmallow. As always, we caution roasters to NOT roast mallows to the point where they catch fire and char. At this point, the mallow may be carcinogenic in its own right. You should be fine as long as the mallows are roasted to a golden brown.

Doug Grass, from Sacramento California asks:  It is so hot here in Sacramento in the Summer. I was wondering if there is any way I can roast my marshmallows using just the solar heat? I hate to build a fire in my back yard when it is so darn hot. Any ideas?

Mr. Mallow answers:  I remember that heat in Sacramento when we held our Roasting Olympic Trials at California State University, Sacramento a few years ago. My wife, Marsha Mallow brought along our Solar Marshmallow Roaster and we used it right there in the Hornet stadium parking lot (GO Sac State!) It worked great! Not quite as good as a real fire and roast, but when we travel, we always take ours along. You can get information on building your own Solar Marshmallow Roaster here:

Connor Murnane, from Melbourne Australia asks:  "I go to a lot of concerts here in Melbourne, and often use Mini-Marshmallows as earplugs, to stave off going deaf. Is that a good idea?"

Mr. Mallow answers:  Patrick Donovan called Melbourne, "one of the live music capitals of the world" so I know you have a lot of opportunity to hear great bands from all over (Mr. Mallow likes Slipknot!) But, according to the Safety Institute of Australia, if you're going to a loud metal or rock concert, you should wear only approved SIA hearing protection. While you are commended for being aware of the possibility of hearing loss, using marshmallows may not be your best choice. Mr. Mallow would have to recommend against it.

Dieter Mueller from New Ulm, Minnesota asks:  "Can Marshmallows be used in brewing beer, like honey is used?"

Mr. Mallow answers:  The only known brew using marshmallows is by homebrewer and NMRI President, Jerry Grinstead. He tells us that the mallows do mix well with the Pale Ale malt extract, but he had to guess at the amount of marshmallows to use. With honey pale ale, he uses 4 pounds of malt extract and 3 pounds of honey. But, just how many marshmallows is equivalent to 3 pounds of honey is still under investigation by lead researcher KR Grace at the NMR Institute.


We hope to have a more definitive answer in the next few months. It has been suggested that because the marshmallows tend to cause cloudy beer,  it would be best to add marshmallows to a hefeweissen or wheat beer. This is also under investigation.