Home Articles Entrepreneurs… it's time to lighten up!

    Entrepreneurs… it's time to lighten up!


    AA10-Jun-Jul-2005-rantEver wonder why people drift away from you at parties, just when you are explaining the most compelling element of your wonderful enterprise? Could it be that you take yourself a tad too seriously?

    Learning to see the lighter side of life, to laugh at yourself and bring humour to your challenges could help you enjoy yourself more … and be more successful.

    Aha! Got your attention now?

    When I first started telling people that I was doing stand-up comedy, the usual response was, “are you serious?” My inevitable reply was, “No, I’m funny!” (This occasionally gets a laugh.)

    Now, when I tell people that I am running a business called The Laughing Company, I often get the same question. The response this time is, “You bet! We are serious about teaching people to use humour to be more successful, and have a great time doing it.”

    The next two questions are usually, “But you can’t teach humour, can you?” and “Why would people want to learn about using humour?”

    The answer to the first question is a resounding “yes”. Effective humour use is a skill (or set of skills) and comes from an attitude of looking at the lighter side of life. Just as anyone can learn to ride a bike or play the piano, anyone can learn humour. Not everyone will become Robin Williams, but then not everyone who learns to ride a bike becomes Lance Armstrong, either.

    There are some great humour and comedy coaches. Melbourne’s Pete Crofts runs the Australian
    Humourversity and has trained some of our most successful comedians, including Elliot Goblet.

    Given that humour can be learned, there are a number of good reasons why entrepreneurs and corporate executives should do so. Firstly, whatever your profession, good humour is infectious. Just step on board a Virgin aircraft. The staff’s humorous approach makes flying fun (or at least more fun). This makes them stand out from other airlines and has helped them win market share against tough competition.

    The idea that humour is the best medicine has been given a boost with the popularity of the movie Patch Adams. Now, research from the University of Maryland has shown the mechanism by which laughter actually creates increased blood flow, which is good for the vascular system.

    Edward de Bono, the creator of lateral thinking, says that humour is the most significant activity of the human brain and critical to the ability to be creative. He has taught thinking skills – including humour – to some of the world’s largest corporations, including IBM, GM and Nokia.

    So, next time you find yourself in a stressful situation – dealing with a difficult customer or watching someone’s eyes glaze over as you speak – take a step back and put on your humour hat. If you’re having a good time, others will want to come along for the ride.

    Jeremy Samuel is the CLO (Chief Laughter Officer) of The Laughing Company and author of the forthcoming book, The Humour Connection: Using Humour to Power Success & Have a Great Time Doing It. The Laughing Company provides corporate training, seminar and events that teach people to use humour to be more successful.
    www.thelaughingcompany.com Email jeremy [at] thelaughingcompany.com

    Have your say… [email protected]