Is humour and laughter your best medicine, or do you still need to get over yourself? Do people call you for a laugh, or have they stopped calling you?
A lot of these coaching concepts we deal with in my blogs can be such serious stuff, can’t they?
Living and working life “at cause” doesn’t mean we have to always be serious and forget about having fun.
I have noticed how progressively more serious people and moods have become around us of late. We live under tremendous pressure to perform and to maintain our status quo. Global, local political, economic, social events and situations seem to be wearing down on us more heavily, fanned by a sensation hungry media and particularly social media to keep it very much “in our face”, right?
No wonder then that when people “let their hair down” they really “let rip”. After yesterday’s AFL footy grand final the garden parties went on late into the night with much merriment, loud (very bad quality) singing and incredible fun and laughter. It seems to take such events to get people to really have a cathartic blast. What a pleasure.
Get A Life – Is One You Can Never Get Too Much Of
Humour and laughter are one of life’s “free indulgences” known to release “feel good” endorphins which are also good for our health. In his book “Laughter, Sex, Vegetables and Fish” Dr John Tickell suggests those are four things we could never overindulge in.
If I ever feel down, I like to call certain people that I know are always good for a laugh. After such calls I always feel better. And I always enjoy when people call “just to have a yarn” and when we can relax and have a laugh together. Our busy life seems to get in the way of such easy, relaxed and powerful relationship maintaining type calls. What will it take for you to just “pick up the phone” and have a laugh with someone you enjoy and appreciate talking to?
So go on – relax. Be yourself. Smile – it is one of your greatest gifts – for yourself and to others around you.
“Get a life” is a great Aussie term. Australians love a larrikin and love a good laugh.
I think a great influence of our cultural heritage from the UK is the use of the “one liner”. Often spiced with cynicism or sarcasm, it can be extremely pointed and hilariously funny.
Some Simple, Important Rules
However, one of the few simple “rules” that have worked for me is that I always try to avoid humour at the expense of someone else – particularly in front of them or others, and particularly in a business context. Whilst that can be very funny, it works against the principles of honouring and respecting the other person in terms of practicing diplomacy.
The other rule is that it is a must to learn to be able to laugh at oneself.
I love sharp witted banter. I subscribe to the idiom “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit” and I also believe that cynicism isn’t far removed from that. I believe if such a quip is deemed necessary to make a point or if you have chosen to use it to “loosen things up”, and political correctness is required, that it is appropriate to “ask” or “warn” the person up front that they “will allow you the indulgence” before you do. That can “tone it down” a little. Unfortunately that also often diminishes the degree of its funniness.
Sigh…. our world has become so focused on being so politically correct, hasn’t it? Yes, of course, particularly in a business sense it is vital for us to always honour and respect those around us, no matter what our relationship is with them. And where I coach my clients in what I call “relationship selling”, I emphasize how important the building of business relationships is, particularly if they can lead first to preferred business association, then business friendships and often also real life friendships. And when such friendships become more personal and trusting, they also allow us to “lighten up” with each other, and enable us to “drop our guard” a little more as we get to know each other.
Last week I spent a morning with 3 business associates with whom I have developed a relationship as I describe above. What I find is that apart from the magnificent country setting, a beautiful spring morning and (sometimes) even some great golf, what I really enjoy so much of these mornings is the complete lack of political correctness, the space and the trust to let one’s guard down and just to be able enjoy “saying it like it is” and to have a “bloody good laugh”. Part of the enjoyment these friendships is just that freedom for that wonderful humour and laughter to prevail.
Humour and laughter can really “lighten things up”, can’t it? Apart from being a lot of fun and putting people at ease it can also be used very effectively in meetings and negotiations when “things get a bit tense”.
In my negotiation skills grooming and training I also teach the use of humour as a great tool at the very beginning of a meeting or negotiation, to get people in a more relaxed frame of mind, that often aids in rapport building. They also learn how valuable a tactic it is not only to “move things along” but also to assist in creating important negotiation breakthroughs often leading to uncommon results. In the training context, it is proven that people also learn better and remember more if they learned it with humour.
Isn’t it funny that when we look for the lighter or funnier side of things we cannot but see the more positive side of things at the same time?
What are you known for?
Where do you sit on the spectrum of the serious “stickler” on the one end, or the “jester” who tries to make all things funny on the other? Both can be quite off putting if always at the extreme, can’t they? But aren’t we all drawn more to the people with a smile on their face, a more relaxed approach to life and to “things” and where we know we can have a good laugh? Conversely, we tend to keep our contact with those that are always so serious to a minimum, don’t we? Why? Because we are human, and nobody likes the stickler. So please develop an awareness for what you are and how you are seen by others in this important aspect of your presence.
So What Next?
So in this coming week, why don’t you “put yourself on notice” and become more aware of humour and laughter around you? Perhaps allow yourself to be drawn more to where humour and laughter is occurring?
Why not practice injecting some humour and laughter into the conversations with those around you in your home or workplace or where you catch up with people?
Why not make people more aware of how serious they are? Why not “have a go”?
I can almost guarantee you that you will have a better week, and those around you will improve theirs at the same time.