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Motivational Speaker Blog

How to Have Fun at Work

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:38 PM

According to research, if employees are busting their gut -they’ll bust their butt.

A fascinating but totally boring study found that 85% of employees at the best companies are having a great time and having fun at work (from the leadership gurus at the Great Place to Work Survey). The study found fun directly added to productivity. It also found that people learn very little when they are bored while humor increases memory and recognition. Motivate company employees with humor in the workplace. A great corporate leadership speaker will always incorporate humor to create rapport.

Consider that stress reduces blood flow which delivers oxygen to the brain, an important thing you would look for in a productive employee. Just looking forward to a lighthearted event increases blood flow to the brain and reduces levels of at least 4 Neuroendocrine hormones associated with stress (University of Maryland Study).

A manager who hasn’t cracked a smile since the 1980’s is shown to have less effective leadership skills. The leader who laughs and smiles a lot is shown to be more inspiring, trustworthy, and indicates a stronger bottom line. People work harder for people they like and when people like each other they tend to laugh more together.

Leading with levity is about a lightness of attitude that engages and inspires others. Humor is an effective way to move business forward.

Would your employees and customers call you (or your organization) fun to do business with? If not, here are some suggestions borrowed from some of the top great places to work to create fun at work.

At Microsoft -everyday a person signs up to blast a song up across the room at 3 PM when energy levels are lowest.
At Lego -managers zip around in little mini scooters
At Prudential financial -managment set up a Mini Golf course at work
At a recent presentation on leadership a company suggested they hold Studs N Suds car wash where male managers wash employee’s cars
At Sprint -leadership have been known to incorporate a rap song into a corporate memo
One Company holds a spontaneous company wide fun shopping spree where they escort them their by limo
At Boston Pizza- to introduce a new menu the leadership dresses up like anchovies (or other food groups). The switchero is another program that was filmed on national television – the CEO of Boston Pizza swaps place with a server for one week, he took the bus and did split shifts for a week.
At one fortune 500 company a secret signal, like a thumbs up or the happy dance which indicates, “Its all good” that can be used at anytime by any employee as a universally recognized way to decrease tension.
At Scripts the company had a lighthearted race on children’s tricycles at a motivate company event.

It’s hard to believe fun can bring greater productivity but it does. Here are some of the reasons why why i think humor impacts productivity:

1. Humor in the workplace reduces hierarchy and formality- Levity removes the ‘us and them’ divide as long as you send the message that policies and procedures apply to everyone in equal measure. Humor demonstrates you can balance work demands with a sense of levity.
2. Levity Softens the Blow- humor softens the damaging edge of tough information. Things can be said in jest that might otherwise give offence. The result is communication of difficult information in a less personally threatening way.
3. Humor can facilitate learning -If people are to learn anything, they have to be interested; and if they have to remember it, they have to be involved emotionally. Nothing can compare with humor for this power to facilitate learning

Positive humor has been shown to have many beneficial effects, including ( here's what the research shows):

1. Lower experienced stress in response to stressors (e.g. Abel, 2002; Kuiper et al., 1993; Lefcourt et al., 1995), including quicker physiological adaptation (e.g. reduction in systolic blood pressure) to stressful situations (e.g. Lefcourt et al., 1995).
2. More positive mood and emotional responses (e.g. Abel and Maxwell, 2002; Lehman et al., 2001; Moran and Massam, 1999; Szabo et al., 2005).
3. Reduction of anxiety levels (Szabo et al., 2005; Abel and Maxwell, 2002).
4. Lower levels of exhaustion and burnout in stressful occupations (e.g. Killian, 2005; Mesmer, 2001; Talbot, 2000).
5. Higher levels of psychological well-being and lower frequency of psychosomatic illnesses (e.g. Fry, 1995; Cavanaugh, 2002; Sanders, 2004; Francis et al., 1999).
6. Higher self-esteem (e.g. Martin et al., 2003).

Remember it’s more important to have fun than to be funny. Seeing the humor in the day to day work is our only goal. Less than 20% of what we laugh at is anything joke- like.

Jody Urquhart is a funny motivational speaker who compels stressed-out and fed-up professionals to rediscover their passion, purpose & sense of fun.

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Tags: leadership guru, leadership skills, how to have fun at work, Humor in the workplace

Why Silliness will Boost Employee Morale

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:37 PM

Silliness for silliness sake is an interpersonal skill that fosters a sense of wonder and amusement and adds creativity and spark to your life. Simply being silly will foster fun at work.

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Tags: leadership skills, interpersonal skills, Humor in the workplace, conference guest speaker

15 Ways to have Fun at Work, An Essential Leadership Skill

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:36 PM

You don’t get happiness from success,
You get success because you are happy. Thomas Flindt

A company that can laugh at itself goes a long way to building confidence and respect. Leadership that can inject levity into the day to day rule.

Irreverent Atmosphere
To be irreverent actually means to show disrespect. Yet leadership that appropriately laughs at itself does not decrease or take away from respect, it enhances it. It shows people you are confident enough to flaunt your downfalls. In flaunting them you downplay them showing that you are in control.

In organizations it works the same way, to laugh at your dilemmas and shortcomings shows your human. Organizations become sterile when things are routine and ordinary.
You can squash a seemingly sterile work environment by looking for ways to poke fun at your regime, leadership and (cautiously and in a good natured way) others. The key to using humor in the workplace is to establish your competency first, error on the side of caution, start off light and increasingly use humor as you “test the waters”

We have racked our brains (not as painful as it sounds) to come up with some things you can do to Lighten up your workplace immediately: Print this up and Keep it for future use…

Motivation  in the Workplace Tools:

Props and Diversions to add inspiration for Humor in the workplace:
Leave Fun (cheap- dollar store) Toys on your desk- distribute throughout the day
Have Nerf basketball in the break room
Install a Gum ball machine
Pool and Ping Pong tables add fun
Foam dart fights after leadership meetings

Have a fun seminar. Include inspirational speeches on the agenda ( yes leaders  can give inspirational speeches)

It is a good start but it’s not enough to add toys and diversions though. Humor should be used to diffuse stuffiness, awkwardness and other corporate tensions. So think of tense situations and find ways to use humor….

Have a good ice breaker that diffuses awkward business moments (i.e. – a funny photo on the wall, fun events, etc)

At a fun at work seminar,create Silly Job Titles, Humorous training films, Ritual dances at the completion of a project.

Put humor in documents and signs
( ie- Bad Day in Progress… Send Chocolate, If you think there is good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody, I don’t get even- I get odder, To err is human to forgive is against company policy, Chaos, panic and disorder- my work here is done! I’m not tense just terribly, terribly alert, If you run out of sick days call in dead)

Want people to read a manual? Write on page 11 that the First 11 employees to mention the page receive a gift (the gift is a T-Shirt that says ask me about page 11)

Issue dollar fines for excessive whining, leaving up the toilet seat in the bathroom, neglecting to recycle, etc. Use the proceeds to have a party.

To inject fun a work, Don’t be predictable…. Make meetings, agendas and routines fun. Humor has to be unexpected

Start up company-sponsored softball, volleyball and football leagues in which anyone can join and play for free. Non-sports-playing cheerleaders are welcomed as well

Competitive FUNdraising- Keep things fun and interactive by pitting departments against each other. Each department in the company competes to see which team can raise the money for a charity, with the winning team receiving tickets to a sporting event.

Have an impromptu champagne reception at the end of the work day (not the beginning!) especially if people have been doing overtime

Lessen the hierarchy and allow things to be open for discussion

Take the blame when an employee fails

Celebrate Screw Ups- Allow people a means to feel its ok to say I screwed up

Have kids run the office for a day (a scaled back version of work. Kids always add inspiration and humor

Eradicate the ailment week…i.e. too much paperwork, bring out ideas and laugh

Ok that’s about 15 I think.

Organizations that play together stay together, when you encourage fun you inspire employees, customers and your community. To quote a funny motivational speaker Brad Garner,You cannot be a dysfunctional organization internally and project an exceptional attitude on the outside. Customers can tell what kind of attitude employees have.

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Tags: leadership skills, funny motivational speaker, fun at work, seminar, inspirational speeches

Increase your Impact and have More Fun at Work

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:36 PM

Increase your impact immediately by tapping into right brain bold thought.

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Tags: leadership skills, funny motivational speaker, fun at work, great speakers

How to Deal with Conflict and Cranky People

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:17 PM

Let’s face it - some people’s mood swings can gnaw at your sanity. Crankiness is infectious, it can spread through an office as silently and pervasively as a virus.
Most people will do anything to escape the cranky person’s subtle harassment and frequent emotional outbursts. Another’s foul mood can become your liability, draining the joy out of the job.
These unhappy individuals can deteriorate group morale, lower productivity, and scare away clients.

As a keynote speaker one of my most popular speaking topics is, I Love My Job, it's the People I Can't Stand.

Unbelievably, many prickly people have no idea of their toxic attitudes. Their outbursts help them get what they want and it's come to the point where they don’t even realize they are doing it. As psychologists suggest, knowing is half the battle because you can’t change what you don’t know and you can’t see.

I did a conflict management workshop, where one leader got into a huge fight with one his employees in front of everyone. After shouting for five minutes, he still couldn't figure out why he needed to take this seminar.

How do you help cranky people to "fess up" to their mood swings? Can you hold up a mirror so they can see the villain inside? The reason difficult people are difficult is- we let them get away with it.

Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones, But Names Will Never Hurt Me

Remember, nobody can ruin your day, unless you give him or her permission.  Only you, ultimately, control the way you respond to situations and people. This is very powerful, as you are the only one who determines your mood and your responses. The next time someone loses it, and tries to take it out on you, before you get upset or take on the blame, remember that you have a choice.

Do you let this person upset you or not? Most things don’t warrant your attention. If you work with someone who habitually flies off the handle, you will have to learn to fight back, without the fight.


• Diffuse hostility by relating to the other’s point of view.

• Anger is not productive and the sooner you can calm the culprit down the better. Use statements like, “I can appreciate what you’re saying” or “I’ve felt that way,
too” or “That’s what I thought for awhile” or “While that may be true…”

Once you’ve calmed the other person down, you can discuss the situation on a more
reasonable level. If you can win them over, they will start to see you as an ally and trust your opinion. This is how you can gain the power to influence their future behaviour.

•Stay calm. Going straight for the throat is the worst thing you can do because people tend to mimic your behavior. If you get angry, they get angrier, the anger escalates, and you have just helped to fuel their behavior. When under fire in such a situation, use deep breathing, positive affirmations (e.g. “I will remain calm,“ or ”I can handle
this”), and focus on the resolution.

• Back out gracefully. We are all human. If someone is on
the attack and you’re not in the mood or a position to defend yourself,
try diffusing the attacker and back out gracefully. “I can
see you are upset, and we need to discuss this, but now
is not the time. Let’s talk about it later.” It is far better to come back to that person after a time out, when you are
both better able to discuss the situation.

• Use good body language. In situations of conflict, body
language betrays your frustration and anger. Indicate
you are listening by making eye contact, nodding,
smiling, leaning forward, and paraphrasing what you
hear. One of the best leadership skills is great body language.

• Verbally move the “complaint” along. Some people
need to complain, so let them. Most people will get it out
and move on while others may see this as an opportunity to
drag someone else through the mud. The best way to
stop the complaints is to move it along. “OK, yes,
alright… I hear you...” Once you get the gist of
the argument, quickly reiterate their concern and move
onto the solution. You don’t have to be a victim of others’
complaining you are trying to find resolution. Motivating people to stay positive takes time.

• Listen for words and emotions. When people are
emotionally charged, they color their words with their
attitudes. It is important to stay focused. What are they
getting at and what does this mean to you? It helps to be straightforward and ask, “What are you trying to tell
me?” Try to understand their basic needs and respond
to them. Your responses may not solve their deeper
life issues but they will set a positive tone in your

• Be solutions-oriented and not problem-focused. Leadership Experts agree behavior that gets recognized gets repeated, good or bad. If you
spend too much time wallowing in the problem it may
just grow. Understand the situationand sum up the problem, then
immediately focus on the solution.

• Use the “How can I help?” approach. “You seemed
annoyed and withdrawn at the meeting when we really
needed your input. What’s wrong? How can I help?”
Most frustrated employees really want to talk about the
situation so they can move on.

• Never blame. When someone is upset, placing the
blame back on him or her is dangerous. They are not in
a position to recognize their faults. Avoid phrases such
as: “You should have, you didn’t, you can’t…”
These accusatory statements will only put others on the defensive and no resolution will be reached.


1. Diffuse the anger by relating to the problem. “I notice
you seemed irritated by my patient and I can
understand. Sometimes she is hard to deal with.”
2. Talk about what you saw. “I saw you get really upset
with Ms. Jones because she wouldn’t take her
3. Ask for what you want. “The next time this happens, can
you just politely explain why the medication is important
and assist her in taking it?”
4. Wait for agreement.
5. Sit down if possible when delivering criticism. Arguments
tend to escalate when people are standing.

Imagine this. A frustrated employee tries to provoke a
co-worker. It works; he’s mad, but instead of flaring up as usual, he stops and realizes he’s angry, reflects on the reason and responds with an honest expression of his emotion. He says, “I want to understand what you’re saying and I’m feeling frustrated that we can’t come to terms with this. I don’t dislike your idea; I’m just finding it hard to concentrate because we are both so emotionally charged.” There is nothing more
disarming than an honest and clear expression of emotion.
Honesty disarms crankiness.

Humor in the workplace, used appropriately will inspire people to decrease tension and stay positive.

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Tags: leadership skills, workshop, conflict management skills

6 Techniques for Women to Get Their Say at Work

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:16 PM

Do you feel your ideas are not heard at work? Do you find you put forward your suggestions only to have them ignored or, worse, rejected? Before deciding, “Oh, well, I just won’t bother” consider these six techniques. An idea is only as important as you make it. In today’s work world if you don’t fight for your ideas you weaken them.

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Tags: Woman motivational speaker, leadership skills, inspirational speeches

Pitfalls of Multitasking and the Fragmented Mind

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:15 PM

I discovered the other day that I can simultaneously conduct official business on the telephone while waxing my car and drinking Kool-Aid. It’s true that, like most people, I multitask a lot - and who can blame me? There are only 24 hours in a day. I also need inspiration, just to keep motivated, and I need to be doing several things at once.

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Tags: leadership skills, interpersonal skills, motivational keynote speaker, leadership expert

What is your Leadership Thinking Style? Find Out

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 04:11 PM

What is your Leadership Thinking Style?

Below is a list of the nine leadership thinking styles, based on the theory of Multiple Intelligences identified by Howard Gardner in 1983. Do any of these remind you of friends or family? How can you adjust your communication style to suit thinking styles other than your own? Leadership and change initiatives are affected by how you think.

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Tags: leadership skills, leadership qualities, inspirational speeches

Develop Leadership Skills with Holiday Games

Posted by Jody Urquhart on Wed, Dec 08, 2010 @ 11:42 AM

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Tags: Motivating People, leadership skills, fun at work, leadership expert, inspirational speaker, management workshop

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