So, you want to make people laugh, huh? That’s easy! Okay, maybe not. But don’t worry! I’m here to help. Let’s dive into some scenarios and I’ll give you some things to keep in mind before your meeting, performance, company party, or whatever you’ve got going on!
There are a lot of steps to leveraging other people’s laughter. So, let’s break it down.
The setting matters! Things that are allowed to be said during a performance versus a business meeting are COMPLETELY different.
Before letting all of your family holiday party jokes fly, consider your audience. If you have to think about whether or not something is appropriate—play it safe and leave it out. You’re a creative person! Find a better alternative.
Does this blog post make my butt look big?
The “Average American” (I’m still trying to find that person!) gains about one and a half pounds of fat a year between ages 25-60. Bummer! Not only does this lead to a number of health issues—it’s costly, it’s depressing, and it’s definitely not helping our self-esteem. If you’re like me, you are searching for ways to laugh your, ummm, your butt off—literally.
A 15-minute laugh burns 10-40 calories. Okay, so that’s not as much as an hour of spinning might get you. But how consistently are you spinning? Or running? Or swimming? Or shaking those hips at Zumba?!
15 minutes of laughter doesn’t require any coordination. Or a membership fee. You don’t have to leave the comfort of your home. Or your room. Or your chair. (You can do it in a house. You can do it with a mouse. You can do it in a boat. You can do it with a goat. You can do it here or there. You can do it...
Everywhere I look, there is some reminder of the election. (There's a job I won't be signing up for!) But then it struck me-sometimes, being a nurse is like being President.
No. Air Force One won't be stopping by this morning to bring you into work. The odds are that you don't have a detachment of Secret Service personnel guarding you around the clock. There isn't a brass band that plays "Hail to the Chief" every time you walk in the room (but wouldn't that be cool?).
However, there are some similarities. For one, as a nurse, you are almost guaranteed to share this experience with the President: something will go wrong when you least expect it.
The event was Fortune's Most Powerful Women summit and President Obama began his address. And then-THUD! The Presidential Seal on the front of the lectern fell off-and hit the floor!
"Oh, goodness," he said. "That's all right." There, with the eyes of the world upon him, President Obama smiled and said, "All of you know who I am."
A bunch of guys are playing football in a park. The ball is hiked. The quarterback steps back to throw. The receiver—an old woman!—shuffles down the field. Ninety-year-old comedic actress Betty White nearly catches the ball, but suddenly she’s brutally tackled. One of her teammates teases, “Hey man, you’re playing like Betty White out there!” She’s given a Snickers Bar, which transforms her back into his proper male form. The tag line: “You’re not you when you’re hungry.”
It became one of the most talked-about commercials in Super Bowl history.
Ask folks if they watch the Super Bowl and you’ll often hear, “I just watch the game for the commercials.” People remember and talk about these ads! Especially the funny ones.
This is why leaders at companies like Frito-Lay, PepsiCo, Allstate Insurance, Reebok, McDonald’s and Budweiser pay $4.5 million for 30-second spots, most of which are humorous. Why...
It was 1984, and the second presidential debate between Walter Mondale and Ronald Reagan was underway. After the first debate, critics observed that Reagan looked tired, and they wondered if he might be too old for the job. Understanding how this precarious issue could affect the outcome of the debate—and the election—Reagan’s team went to work and prepared his response.
Sure enough, shortly after the debate commenced, a reporter asked Reagan, “Given the fact that you are already the oldest president in U.S. history, would you really be able to function should a crisis arise?”
Reagan assured the reporter that he’d be perfectly capable of dealing with any situation at hand—and then he quipped—"I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit for political purposes my opponent's youth and inexperience."
When the laughter died down, so did the question of Reagan’s age. And he was elected president for a...
OCTOBER 1962 — The world held its breath as America and Russia went to the brink, with nuclear weapons at the ready. Russia was installing nuclear missiles in Cuba—a mere 90 miles from the Florida coast. The 13-day crisis played-out in real time on TV around the world.
As American and Soviet delegates came together to negotiate, tensions were high, and they soon became deadlocked. And then…a Russian delegate told a joke: “What is the difference between Capitalism and Communism? In Capitalism, man exploits man. In Communism, it is the other way around.”
Delegates on both sides laughed, and this created a bond among all of them. (Hey, ya gotta start somewhere!) With the tension eased for the moment, talks resumed, and eventually a deal was struck that avoided blowing up the planet—no small feat!
Whether you’re negotiating for world peace or for which movie to go to, humor can play a crucial role in your success.
According to a recent study on...
“I’m trying to imagine you with a personality.”
“This isn’t an office. It’s Hell with fluorescent lighting.”
“Don’t bother me. I’m livin’ the dream.”
Sarcasm. Gotta love it, don’t ya? Used for comic effect and dry criticism throughout the ages—by us common folks and by the famous.
Oscar Wilde observed: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
Stephen Bishop said: “I feel so miserable without you, it’s almost like having you here.”
Mark Twain once quipped: “I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”
Sarcasm. You hear it nearly every day, from all kinds of people, in all kinds of situations.
[Yeah, we all know—or think we know—exactly what sarcasm is. But for the meticulous among you, here’s the precise definition, according to Webster’s Dictionary: “the use of words...
We’re cruising down the highway on a sunny California afternoon—the sparkling ocean to our left, the picturesque mountains to our right—then as we come around a curve we see motionless cars stretching for miles and miles ahead of us.
“Shoot! Dang!” cried my husband. (Okay, so those weren’t his exact words. Hey, I want to keep this article rated PG-13!)
His knuckles whitened around the steering wheel, his jaw tensed, his muscles stiffened. “Look at this frakkin’ traffic.” (Note: He actually did use the word “frakkin’.”)
The sight of a traffic jam sent him immediately into a stress response. But I reminded him that we had plenty of time to get to our destination, we had plenty of gas, we had food and drink in the car (and neither of us was in need of a bathroom break!). So rather than fume about traffic I pulled out my phone, and played several episodes of a show that we both find hysterical (Cabin Pressure, a BBC...
“To know and not to do is not to know.” Chinese Proverb
John glanced quickly over his shoulder as he was driving me to my speaking venue and asked, “So you’re the speaker? What do you speak about?”
Ah! Did he know that this is a professional speaker’s favorite question?! “My body of work for the last 25 years has been the study of humor’s relationship to profitability and health. This afternoon I’m going to share how to use humor as a competitive business edge,” I explained, delighted to share my passion with him.
I could see John’s smiling eyes in the rearview mirror. “Did you know that humor is really, really good for you?” he asked in all sincerity. (Yes, I knew that!) John then went on to tell me a somewhat fuzzy version of Norman Cousins overcoming his life-threatening illness by watching funny movies. It was fun to hear someone else extol on the benefits of humor—and I was encouraged that the...
My alarm clock didn’t go off. Someone had already used up all the hot water before I could take my shower. We’d run out of coffee (gasp!). And to top it all off… my “fat pants” were feeling a bit snug—aaaaaauuuuggghhhhhh! This was shaping up to be a miserable morning. I heard my phone chime and my heart skipped a beat. Had I gotten my times mixed—was I late for work? I snatched my phone off the table and saw the text:
“I just wanted you remind you how amazing you are and how grateful I am that you’re in my life.”
My eyes teared up and my heart swelled. My sister, a busy physician three time zones away, had taken 30 seconds out of her busy schedule and had changed the course of my entire day.
Studies show that one way of increasing your happiness set-point is to practice being grateful. Studies vary slightly in their findings, but in a nutshell, writing down three things daily will raise your level of happiness more than...