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Clowning Achievements

clown.jpgIn case you’re wondering, there isn’t a typographical error in today’s title. We don’t want to talk about crowning achievements.

We saw a fantastic article in Business Week about the impact of humor in organizations. It’s an interview with Chris Robert, a management professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and author of a recent study The Case for Developing New Research on Humor and Culture in Organizations: Toward a Higher Grade of Manure.

Now there’s a professor with a great sense of humor!

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Chuckles and creativity are connected

In his paper, he points out that humor is a universal language. It helps us feel more comfortable with other people. It brings out our child-like nature. It’s also contagious – one joke often brings on another.

Humor is also associated with intelligence and creativity, highly valued traits in today’s workplace. Dr. Robert notes that the main theory about humor is that we often laugh when two disparate things are put together.

A theory about humor? How funny!

He states that creativity often involves the same thing – connecting the dots. This link between being funny and being creative is supported by a number of studies.

Crack a joke and keep your employees

There’s also a strong connection between humor and positive emotions. He says that numerous studies have linked positive feelings with productivity in the workplace. So if you want a higher performing team, develop a sense of humor.

Finally, he points out that the real benefit comes in employee retention. People are less likely to quit if they feel their place of work is a positive place to be.

So how do you bring humor into the workplace?

Connect the dots

As we mentioned earlier, connect things that don’t naturally fit together. Here’s an example from Jay Leno:

“It’s crazy. First we had Mad Cow. Then we had bird flue. Now we have swine flu. Do we have to check the Chinese horoscope to see what flu is coming next?”

He’s mixing a current topic in with animals and the Chinese horoscope.

Pull it back in

Bring up a topic that was funny earlier. Or maybe it wasn’t funny earlier but it may be funny now. David Letterman is a master at this. Do you remember, “Uma … Oprah”? It bombed at the Oscars, but Dave often gets a bigg chortle when he does this.

Word play

The title to this post is an example. It may not make you laugh out loud, but you might get a little chuckle out of it. Sometimes a play on words can set off a bigg laugh.

A few lessons

Share other people’s humor like we did with Jay Leno. Understand that humor is subjective. You have to know your audience. Dave’s humor didn’t fly at the Oscars.

Be yourself. You can’t force it. Some people are good at off-the-cuff comments. Others have to plan it out.

Finally, remember that you don’t have to be funny yourself to participate. Laughing at a joke connects you just as much as making one!

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Please join us next time when we talk about a great way to have fun with your friends using only things you already have in your home.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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(Image in today's post by Tzvook)

Blame, Blame Go Away

never_give_up Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, recently showed his sense of humor before a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. He said that one of his predecessors gave him three envelopes when he took the office. He was to open the first when things got bad, the second when the situation got even worse, and the third if they ever got critical.

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So a while back, he opened the first one. It said, “Blame your predecessor.” Obviously Tony Blair wasn’t the person who gave him these envelopes!

Before long, the situation worsened. So he opened the second envelope. It said, “Blame the statistics.”

Recently, as things continued to get worse, he finally succumbed and opened the third one. It said, “Start writing three envelopes to your successor.”

Fortunately, he was joking. But it raises a serious point – the way in which a lot of people respond in crisis. First, fix the blame. If that doesn’t work, run!

Bigg winners respond differently.

Bigg winners say blame, blame go away. They focus on fixing the problem, not the blame. So much energy is spent trying to find out who’s responsible. Leaders focus on what the problem is. Fix that. Then worry about who should be held accountable.

Also, when faced with a serious problem, bigg winners don’t worry about what happened yesterday. We get so focused on who did what to whom. Today is what matters. What are you doing today … right now … to find a solution to your problem? That solution lies in the present, not the past.

But finding a solution is just the beginning. Don’t stop there. You have to act to make your solution work – the sooner the better. But be prepared … you may not have found the right solution yet. That’s okay. Test your solution. See what happens. If it doesn’t work, test another one.

Which brings us to perhaps the most important thing bigg winners do when faced with a problem – they don’t ever give up. As long as you’re still trying, you’re not a failure. Press on! See that wall that lies before you? Climb over it, dig under it, go around it, or plow right through it!

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Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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We really appreciate that you took time out of your busy day to spend a few minutes with us. Join us next time when we discuss how to be a career renegade. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00318-012809.mp3

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The Most Important Person To Laugh At

laughing

  

 

We’ll stray from our traditional show summary format so you can read how George and Mary-Lynn put this concept to use!

George: Today, we’ll talk about laughing at yourself and the benefits that go along with it. Laughing is good for you. Research shows that people who get in a few bigg belly laughs every day are healthier! And I find that the older I get, the bigger my belly laugh gets!

Mary-Lynn: That just means there’s more belly laugh to love! Another benefit is that it keeps you from taking yourself too seriously. And I learned a long time ago not to take myself too seriously … nobody else does!

George: It also endears people to you. People like people who can laugh at themselves.

Mary-Lynn: And, if they may relate to what you said, that makes it even funnier. I always feel good when someone makes fun of themselves, because then they’re not making fun of me. And believe me, I provide a lot of material!

George: I’ll say, Mary-Lynn!

Mary-Lynn: Now you’re making fun of me!

George: I found that it can also release the pressure in a tense situation. The conversation heats up as people stake out positions. If I say something silly about myself, everybody takes a brief break. Then the conversation can be productive again.

How to learn to laugh at yourself

Mary-Lynn: Some people just don’t have that sense of humor. So let’s offer some tips on how to learn to laugh at yourself.

George:
All you have to do is look like me! First, talk to yourself. My dad said, “Talking to yourself is the best way to make sure intelligent questions get asked and intelligent answers are given!” The point is to make yourself laugh, but do it quietly.

Mary-Lynn: Second, become a student of humor. As you watch a show or listen to a comedian, think about how you could use the funny line. Review conversations. Have you ever thought, “Oh, I wished I had said …” The more you rehearse, the quicker you’ll get.

George:
Third, it has to be spontaneous. That’s what normally makes it funny – the element of surprise. One easy way to do this is to take something that’s memorable from the discussion you’ve been having and bring it up again, turning it on yourself.

Mary-Lynn:
Well, George, if we had said anything memorable I would give an example! So we’ll just move on!

2 things to avoid with self-deprecating humor

Mary-Lynn: Don’t make fun of things you’re insecure about. It serves no purpose and it makes other people uncomfortable. You have to laugh at yourself with confidence, because then people know it’s a joke.

George:
Don’t create a bad perception with your self-deprecating humor. For example, you may be confident in your work ethic. You might look bad if you talk about how lazy you are.

Mary-Lynn:
But George, one of your favorite lines, when people ask you what you do is, “As little as possible.”

George: That’s because it’s true!

Mary-Lynn: See, there you go again!

George:
Yeah, but I immediately follow it up with the real answer.

Mary-Lynn:
After they’ve laughed WITH you laughing AT yourself! What’s your favorite self-deprecating line? Share it with us by leaving a Comment! What’s our bigg quote today, George?

George: Our bigg quote today comes from Shirley MacLaine, who said,“I’ve don’t know which life to make fun of me in!” Seriously, she said …

“The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused.”


Mary-Lynn:
And thanks to myself, I’m easily amused!

George:
Next time, it will be St. Patrick’s Day. So we’ll ask a question – is it better to be lucky or smart?

Mary-Lynn:
Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image by Sam Foster, CC 2.0)