By Kurt Kilpatrick

Humor…experienced business people rely on it and successful corporations use it to maximize productivity. One of the important lessons I have learned as I’ve traveled around the United States speaking to top association and corporate audiences is that humor is a vital tool in business. Positive attitudes, self-motivation, and a terrific sense of humor are attributes shared by thousands of top performers. Having a sense of humor and using it properly in the work place is a fundamental key to success.

Every success and motivational rally put on in major cities by famed motivational speaker Zig Ziglar incorporates humor and extols the benefits of the same. To be sure Zig has top business speakers on the rostrum who engage the audience with ideas on how to be a good leader, how to excel in sales, and how to manage ones personal life and finances; but he always saves a place for a humor motivator. Some one who can encourage the audience not to forget the benefits of humor in the work place is one key element of his motivational rallies.

Laughter is cathartic! Catharsis is from the Greek word “Katharos” which describes the relieving of emotions. By using laughter we experience an emotional release in a positive way. Another cathartic way to relieve emotions is crying. But who wants to be around a bunch of people who are relieving emotions by doing that? When we relieve our emotions in a positive way, with laughter, we benefit by releasing pent-up frustrations and stresses that often build up during the normal course of business and life. Oscar Wilde said, “Life is too serious to be taken seriously.”

A while ago I ran across a survey done by Hodge-Cronin and Associates. The survey revealed that “98% of the 737 CEO’s interviewed indicated that they would hire an applicant with a good sense of humor over a humorless applicant.” Why do you think that is so? Because, there is a connection between a well developed sense of humor and problem solving capabilities. Productivity abounds when a humor connection is present. Having FUN releases tension and relieves stress. People focus more intently on the job when tension is magically reduced. Boredom is alleviated; conflict is reduced. Aside from all of these benefits, in a humor-filled setting, creativity is enhanced.

In my seminar, “The art of using humor in business”, I have found that the proper use of humor in the workplace is the key to developing a creative, productive, and happy work environment. Most successful top executives I have met use humor as a tool to enhance their image, promote comradeship, and influence attitudes and thinking to convey good will and as a bridge to serious business.

When it comes to business, humor is serious business. Those who work at maintaining a good sense of humor in the workplace are planting the seeds of success. Certainly we can take what we do seriously while not taking ourselves or our circumstances seriously. I have seen it work hundreds of times. When humor is used properly in the workplace it can lift spirits, enhance communication, energize employees, spur creativity and make a noticeable increase in productivity and profits down the road. If you are serious about life and business encourage a little levity around the work place and laugh all the way to the bank!


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