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Catching up with Karyn

Humor vs. Terrorism

Three-and-a-half million people rallied throughout France on January 12, 2015 to show unity and to show support for freedom of expression in the face of fanaticism and terrorism. What triggered the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo office? Humor.

Humor?? Yes. Political satire. So are we now going to characterize humor as a weapon? Something to wield and fear? C’mon, we’re more mature than that. (Aren’t we??) (Perhaps we had better warn the editors of Mad Magazine to tread lightly. “What, me worry?”)

Humor, like any form of expression, has a huge range—from the silliness of Teletubbies for toddlers to the “dead seriousness” of sharp political satire. All forms of communication can be used for comfort and connection, and also for influence and intimidation. Yes, humor can be used as a weapon. But it’s not a weapon of mass destruction! It’s a weapon of mass embarrassment.

Satire is one of the more edgy—and often...

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Humor & Home Sales: What's the Connection?

Selling real estate requires a unique combination of skills. Not only must realtors know everything there is to know about the homes they're selling and the neighborhood those homes reside in, they must understand the tangled process of financing a home purchase.

On top of that, they need tremendous people skills, in order to attract buyers, understand what their needs are, identify the best properties for them, and provide support and encouragement through the home buying process.

Humor is one of the most essential - yet seldom discussed - tools the real estate agent has at his or her disposal. The realtor who knows how to use laughter to begin relationships sells more homes.

I saw a great example of this on Twitter this morning (Thanks, @sjsincanada!) There are plenty of people who'd shy away from buying property near a cemetery - blame it on too many late night horror shows or cultural traditions that are uncomfortable with the idea of being too close to the departed - but with a...

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Humor is Power: Leaders and Organizational Culture

Full disclosure: I have always found the traffic in New Jersey to be challenging. For as long as I can remember, the minute I got behind the wheel in the Garden State, something would happen to slow the journey way down. There have been the typical fender benders and weather-related snafus, of course, but there's also always been an added layer of strangeness to my particular journeys: one time, a tractor trailer full of tomatoes tipped over - we're talking marina sauce for miles! - and on another occasion, the delay was caused by approximately 75 million Justin Beiber fans en route to wherever it is 75 million Justin Beiber fans go.

But lately, there have been some traffic problems in New Jersey that have nothing to do with wayward produce or rock stars. As you may have heard, recent traffic problems in New Jersey may have had a political cause. On Friday, Governor Chris Christie held a long press conference in which he apologized for the traffic slowdowns, adding that the...

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My "BIGGAS" Savings

Truth is, I don't watch TV much. Mostly it's bad for your health. And honestly most of us don't watch TV as much as we let it drone on in the background until something manages to cut through the clatter.

My stress level begins to climb after just a few minutes of listening to Natalie Morales telling me about the war raging in (name-your-location-here), or Norah O'Donnell telling me about the effects of global warming, or Jean Chatsky telling me I've invested poorly and am going to have to let my favorite child pick out my nursing home. I'll admit it, my chest feels a little tighter, my anxiety is a little higher, and I'm wondering if a glass of Merlot for breakfast would count as a fruit on my Weight Watcher points.

But yesterday something different cut through the clatter. I'm thinking, "Did I hear that right?!"  I stopped what I was doing and looked up. The commercial for Kmart’s gas savings was quick—and by the time I got to where I could see the TV, the ad was...

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Using Humor To Build Your Business: Signs That Make You Smile

I'll admit it - when I first saw this restaurant sign featured in the Huffington Post, I laughed out loud. Chances are you did too!

Now imagine what your reaction would have been if, instead of encountering this sign on the internet, you saw it while you were driving through your neighborhood. It's still funny - and the fact that the restaurant shared a funny sign might just be enough to motivate you to turn in and have a taco (even though they're not free!)

Humor is Power: Building Your Business

Businesses that offer their customers a way to laugh gain a significant competitive advantage. Humor is disruptive. It attracts our attention and makes us change the way we think.  The Mexican restaurant advertising “Free Tacos – Yesterday Only!” will make us laugh, but they’re also planting that seed reminding us how much we like tacos. Couple that with the powerful emotional associations people have with humor, and you’ve got circumstances that...

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What's So Funny About Diabetes?

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – no, not the time we get to break into Santa’s stash of sugar-free candy canes (although that’s pretty awesome too!) It’s book release season! I’m super excited to tell you that my latest book, What’s So Funny About Diabetes? A Creative Approach to Coping With Your Disease is now available!

What’s So Funny About Diabetes?

Maybe nothing. Then again, maybe everything.

Especially if you understand the premise that so much of our humor comes from pain and discomfort—our own, or somebody else’s. And let’s face it; if you’re a diabetic, you’ve got more than your fair share of pain and discomfort.

Currently one in 10 US adults has diabetes, but those numbers could go as high as 1 in 3 by the year 2050. A long-term solution can only come from getting people to change their lifestyles: better diets, exercise and coping mechanisms to deal with this serious illness.

The good...

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What's So Funny About Healthcare?

It might be hard to find an answer to that question.  The healthcare community is facing a plethora of perplexing problems.  There’s a continual pressure to do more with less.  All we have to do is see more patients, cure more conditions, and increase customer satisfaction with fewer staff, in less time, with fewer resources every day.

It doesn’t seem like there’s a lot to laugh about.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  Healthcare needs humor.  Humor has incredible benefits for our patients, our health care providers, and for the health care organizations and systems.

The strategic use of humor can transform the health care experience for everyone. Here’s how humor can help:

  • Improve the patient experience, opening the doors to effective communication and alleviating anxiety
  • Create a positive work place environment. Combat the problem of nursing hostility and staff tension
  • Provide staff with an effective, low cost way to reduce...
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How Humor Helps: Pediatric Patients

"You either love working peds or you don’t work peds." I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this nursing 'wisdom.' There’s more than a grain of truth to it: generally nurses who specialize in pediatrics tend to love their work passionately.

However, enjoying what you do doesn’t mean that you don’t have challenges on the job – and if you’ve never attempted to make a bed with one hand, while holding a baby in the other and figuring out dosages by weight in your mind, you don’t know challenging! (And if you can master that, try finding scrubs that don’t show formula stains!)

Luckily, humor can help ease some of the challenges of pediatric nursing. Here are three ways humor helps make life with pediatric patients easier:

Humor Help Make The Medical Environment Less Frightening For Our Patients

"Can you make my nose stop running?" Tyler looked up, wide eyed. "Because I’m tired of boogers." The poor kid was sixty-nine...

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Never Try To Teach A Pig To Sing…

An experience that makes your customers ‘Feel Good’ is an experience that is going to bring those customers back to you.  More than that, “Feel Good” creates word of mouth: customers love to tell their friends, co-workers, and at least some of their relatives about the fantastic time they’ve had, so that their friends, colleagues, and family can enjoy the experience as well.

The problem is that not everyone wants your customers (or patients, if you’re in a health care setting!) to feel good.  In a book I’ve recently written with two of the smartest people I know (T. Scott Gross and Greg Ayers), we examined the three types of people you’ve probably got working for you, and how they feel about creating a “Feel Good” experience for your customers.

Never Teach a Pig to Sing…It Wastes Your Time and Irritates The Pig!

Not everyone is psychologically capable of extending “Feel Good” to perfect...

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When Funny Means Money: Sales

I know what some of you left brain logical people are thinking. Humor: It’s cute. It’s entertaining. But it’s just not practical.

Hey, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can ask the people at American Express or Jell-O. These companies understand that while people use logic to justify their buying decisions, emotion is what sells. And one of the quickest connections to emotion is humor.

Whey else would American Express spend millions of dollars to feature Jerry Seinfeld in their ads? (He now also has a $10 million deal from Microsoft!)

Why would Capitol One present David Spade in their commercials?

Why would Jell-O hire Bill Cosby as their spokesperson?

These companies understand that humor fosters connection, and that this connection, in turn, affects people’s buying decisions.gitomer When Funny Means Money: Sales

My buddy and Sales Guru, Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Little Red Book of Selling (and dozens of other books!) says that humor...

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