I recently was a funny guest speaker for a group of government employees. There was a concern that encouraging them to lighten up would take away from the importance and seriousness of their work.
This is not the first time I have heard this. What I say to the stern parties is that humor helps you take yourself lightly through challenging times. It is not meant to undermine performance, protocol or important work practices. Instead, it helps you not get too emotionally caught up in the chaos.
Let's face it, work can be draining. It is easy to lose sight of your overall mission, values, goals and accomplishments when your day is mired with aggravations that seem like a serious assault to your sanity. If you care about your job, it is very hard not to become vested in it. So much so that when things don't go your way you can take it very personally.
Sensitive souls can develop a hard shell if they have no outlet to fend off personal attacks, plans gone wrong, worry about overwork and compromised results.
Emotionally draining work takes it's toll on you over time and results in burnout which contributes to a whole slew of other health problems. Allowing and encouraging a little bit of levity goes a long way to help people stay engaged, resilient and passionate about work.
I know of no better way to bring hard working and talented people together than appreciate humorous moments that highlight the human quality of the very important work they do.
A simple belly laugh:
- Causes you to instantly boost endorphins- increasing energy levels
- Shoots blood flow( and oxygen and energy)to the front part of your brain, making you more focused
- Broadens your perspective by creating a distraction from stress and moves your focus from the back stress center of the brain; engaging the frontal lobe where logical, creative, innovative thought occurs.
So there it is, Humor changes the way people think, feel and act creating congruence with hard working, creative people. Morale and productivity soars when levity becomes an acceptable way to decrease stress.
Read our blog post, Funny guest speaker Conference for government employees reveals public perception.
Also see our blog post on Motivational Speaker Wrestles with a Tough Crowd.