Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Humorous Motivational Speakers | Make It Work! Using Humor to Boost Productivity

Too often, those in the business world can be suspicious of any “jocularity” in the workplace. There are memos and mass emails encouraging formality, fuddydud and downright dullness, which leadership mistakenly associates with productivity. Even if everyone’s thinking it, it takes a brave (and some would say stupid) soul to point out “fun” in a professional scenario. But a little levity goes a very long way when it comes to inspiring employees, increasing productivity and altering the attitude of an organization.

A Foundation of Funny
First let’s rap about what offices occasionally get right. You know, the typical stuff: birthday cakes, baby showers, and the call of Happy Friday are all great examples of meek attempts at office humor. But there’s more—consider what’s buried in the cubicles of contractors account managers and receptionists across the country: screen savers, joke calendars and email forwards. What a pity employees feel as though they need to hide the humor--to whisper it across the partition rather than mixing it into a power point, training or town hall. Indeed, businesses can do better.

But you may be asking: why should organizations care?

1) Because those who laugh together, work well together. They feed off of each other. There’s a reason the dotcom companies of yester-year gathered in open-air, polka-dot painted offices with air hockey tables, nerf guns and a golden retriever at their feet. Kernels of innovation and corn pops of pure genius came from offices like these, where games were part of the gambit. These companies knew when there’s comfort and laughs, there’s innovation and creativity, too. And that means higher profits.

2) Because a happy employee tends to be a healthy employee. In today’s world, we’re all trying to find our Zen. Whether it’s breathing exercises posted in the cubicle or a pedometer strapped to your purse strap, office employees are seeking ways to stay physically and mentally balanced as they work. Why not help them get there? Bringing humor to the workplace is a perfect fit. The benefits are endless. Not only is smiling known to reduce muscle tension, but it tends to cut down on the stress and put people in a more positive, productive mood as well.

3) Because humor is the often the basis of building rapport. We’ve all worked with Arrogant Andrew who’s very fond of power. Or Laid-Back Louis who never delivers on time. And let’s not forget Eager Eddie who likes to do everyone’s job but his own. Sometimes it’s hard to maintain a professional demeanor when you feel like directing profanities at your peers. But when people start laughing, something interesting happens. Guards are let down, bravados fall apart and people start to connect. They realize that everyone’s just doing the best they can. And we all have our limits.

C’mon. Ride the Train. . .
No, we’re not talking about the office party where we all try to avoid embarrassing ourselves by having too many mimosas. This is about the meetings and trainings we make employees go through—every month, every quarter, or just once a year. But it’s the perfect place to get your fun quotient going.

Unfortunately, these meetings tend to be dull and lifeless. Sure, we all need to know the company numbers, but when all you’re getting is a content-driven data dump, that’s about as effective a method of boosting productivity as drinking beer in front of the television to train for a 5K.

Laugh together!
How can you use the opportunity of a meeting to bring your people together and get them excited about your organization’s direction and vision? One of the best ways to engage your people is to get them to laugh together. When people laugh about their common threads and pertinent issues, it helps them to relieve stress and gets them connected with each other. They also feel like management understands them. Guess what that leads to? Yep. Better producers.

Do it more, do it often
This shouldn’t be saved for only when times are good! This idea should be especially used when stress is high. Putting a little humor in your environment will dissipate stress and help people to actually be more productive—because let’s face it, when people are stressed out, they can’t function as well. But when they’ve had a chance to lighten up and laugh a little, they walk away saying, “What a meeting! That was a great way to kick things off! I’m glad I work here!”

Whether you do this yourself, or bring in a professional to help you communicate your message in a way that’s engaging and fun, the end results are energized, connected, and motivated employees—which means better productivity. And that’s a good thing.

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 To learn how to bring The O'Shea Report into your meeting or convention, please visit or call 303-371-2849. Copright 2009 Tim and Kris O'Shea.


Rae_hofkin said...

At my last job, I started the Laugh a Lot Lunches. Every other month my direct reports and I would invite someone from another department to join us for lunch. Everyone had to bring a joke. The best joke won a free lunch.

One day we invited the boss. He was so impressed with the exercise he offered to pay for everyone's lunch every other month.

I have since left the job to work from home for another company but my old direct reports still call me to meet them for lunch and we do the Laugh A Lot exercise, so I know they were not just doing it because their bossed told them that's what we were doing. They actually enjoyed it!

The O'Shea Report said...

Great insights! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Natalie said...

Laugh releases our stress. So why frown, when we can all laugh and be happy.

Natalia Payroll