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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Funny Motivational Speaker Insights

Still Straight-Faced in the Office: What’s up with That? – How a Sense of Humor Can Help Your Employees Deal with Change

At work, humor is a value that is often underrated. Actually, let’s be honest: it’s usually not even considered a value, period. It gets overlooked. Passed by. Left in the car. When’s the last time you came away from a conference call and excitedly said to your colleague, “Hey, we gotta talk about contract logistic services more often!” Probably…well, never.

Seriously though…Businesses think that being serious is what makes them successful. For some reason, many organizations believe that the only way to survive is with a Captain Von Trapp style of communication. You know, that father from “The Sound of Music” who didn’t let his children smile, sing, or enjoy their lives…does this sound like your manager? The VP of Operations? The SME?

Workers have been taught they need to do their jobs with a deadpan seriousness that would even embarrass most soap opera actors. While it’s true that the success of your business is no laughing matter, that success doesn’t require your employees to walk around the office with a stone-faced expression that would even make Henry Kissinger yell, “come on, lighten up!”

Ch-Ch-Ch…oh, that word.

But let’s give serious credit where serious credit is due. People’s job security is important. For that, a straight-faced message is definitely in order. And it’s obvious why organizations freak out. The “Change” word—whether it affects daily routine, industry standards, organizational structure, or where people go to the bathroom—makes everybody think they’re on the deck of the Titanic watching the iceberg getting closer. And that happy-go-lucky Leonardo DiCaprio-type from the executive team hopping around saying, “No, it’ll be great!” doesn’t really seem to help.

As a result, bosses overreact, overplan and overstructure. Suddenly, it’s emails, impromptu meetings, pursed lips, and Von Trapp atmosphere abound. Which, strangely enough, only adds to employees’ stress (funny how that works). Sure, you can do it that way. But why annoy people in a time of perceived crisis?

The Solution is in the Smile
In addition to introducing fun in the workplace as a daily activity, businesses have started to utilize new and inventive methods for presenting information to their employees in times of change. Communicating information clearly and concisely during company-wide meetings doesn’t mean you need to maintain terminal seriousness.

Let’s get real: when humor holds hands with stress, you get a lot more happiness, more levity, and more productive personnel. Employees feel at ease. Emotions run lower. People start to feel more like a human and less like a human resource. Honesty seeps through the cracks in the cubicle walls and even Bonnie, that secretarial curmudgeon, is forced to stifle a giggle.

Put plainly, everyone feels a whole lot better. In fact, even though most of us would rather pull out our own wisdom teeth than face uncertainty of change, humor can turn us around pretty darn fast. And you don’t need Michael Scott or office olympics to make this happen.

A Platitude About Attitude
We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control how we are looking at it—we can get overwhelmed and frustrated, or we can step back, realize that change is the only constant and laugh about it. Then it’s easier to forget about how irritating Brent in IT is.

You can communicate essential information and also allow your employees to find humor in the situation. They can laugh at themselves, at their place in the larger scope of things, and even at the business itself without being disrespectful or dismissive of the serious challenges that are ahead of them.

The Ha Ha Helps.
Most corporate activities are meant to bring everybody together. Sometimes though, it feels a little forced. Usually because…well, it is. In fact, it can often be a pity party waiting to happen. But just by adding a little humor—a joke here, some light-hearted fun there—to that massive meeting in Conference Room D, you lighten the mood, increasing everyone’s strength to face change with less fear and more flexibility. This makes for happy employees who work harder—that’s when your company reaps the benefits.

Get With the Program
In a world of blogging, social media and reality television, organizations are catching on. They realize that just as their customers demand a more conversational, informal tone, their employees do too. Corporate culture-building began years ago with those silly knot-tying courses. And since then, they’ve come very…well, okay, they haven’t come that far. But it’s up to innovative organizations to keep blazing the trail.



Change speakers Tim and Kris O'Shea help organizations deal with change through relevant business humor. To learn more about these funny motivational speakers visit http://www.theosheareport.com/. To learn how to bring The O'Shea Report into your meeting or convention, please visit http://theosheareport.com/ or call 303-371-2849. Copright 2010 Tim and Kris O'Shea.