Archive for the 'Life Skills' Category

Using Humor On a Sales Call

Friday, March 7th, 2014

How do you use humor on sales calls?

1. I prefer fresh humor over off-the-shelf jokes in most cases. With that said, passing on jokes you’ve heard or read might be the right thing for you. If you’re a great joke teller, recycled jokes might be right up your alley. It’s just not at the top of my personal list of ways to make connections.

2. Storytelling is a great vehicle if you have the skill. It’s different from telling jokes you’ve heard. When I say storytelling, I mean sharing of happenings in your life. This could also include using borrowed stories, but your own original tales will usually have more impact. A story is usually longer than a standard set-up/joke sequence of humor.

3. In sales calls you have the question of “the chicken or the egg.”  Although humor is a great relationship builder, I am a fan of “the relationship comes first.” My concern is establishing the “permission factor” which paves the way for jokes to be positively received. There is the chance that an aggressive joke teller may come across as a clown and not a professional. The amount of humor and the type of humor which you can sucessfully use is best measured by the nature and depth of your relationship with the client.

4. As in speaking, a great form of humor is self-deprecation. It usually works well to poke fun at yourself. If you can master the art of self-deprecation, it opens the door for other types of humor.

5. What is the humor style of the client? If they never use humor, they may not be as open to humor as a client who is always making funny remarks. The process of matching humor to the client is the technique of mirroring. It’s similar to observing the pace and energy of the client and matching your communication style to be received on the same style wave length.

6. Less is more. Be cautious about going humor overload. A little spice goes a long way. Once you learn what works, you can adjust your style.

7. Use other vehicles to share the fun. I remember a paper salesman who called on my father’s printing business 50 years ago. He was fun and interesting. He used the vehicle of magic to break the ice and create relationships. What hobbies and skills do you have which may provide you with unique vehicles to connect with your clients?

8. Have a short sales-call critique form where you can list things that worked and didn’t work in the area of humor. Maybe something funny was said by you or the client that is a “new joke” which you can re-use at the next sales call. This critique form will jog your memory and save your funny moments to help you enrich the quality of future calls.

9. The best answer to the question of “how to use humor on a sales call,” is answered by your own experience. Trial and error. What works for you? Experiment and learn by doing. Harvest funny moments. Learn from your mistakes. You’ll develop a style that will set you apart from your competitors.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

Words of inspiration by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  – There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right.

  – Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

  – Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.

  – Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

  – Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

  – If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving.

Show Biz Lessons for Speakers

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

Bill Stainton is a motivational speaker who also is a 29-time Emmy Award winning TV producer, writer, and performer.  He recently posted a video using “being a producer” as a metaphor for your life.  It’s an excellent example of taking an experience from your life an making it relevant to the lives of other people.  Also watch for his relaxed, natural use of facial expressions.  His video blog provides useful insights in how show business lessons apply to your life and speaking career.

New Year’s Humor Resolutions

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Our readers are serious about humor.  They are motivated to add humor to their daily routine and to have more fun in life.  As we enter a new year, many of us reflect on goals and resolutions which will take our humor skills to a higher level.  I’ve listed some possible humor resolutions which might work for you.  Pick one or two of these ideas to add to your resolutions for 2013.  Or make up one of your own.  Building skills in humor is like skill building in most other areas.  Skills are acquired and strengthened by things you do on purpose to build those skills.  So as you set your goals for the coming year, remember to add some self-development targets in the area of humor:

 – In every speech you give, include one funny story or relevant joke somewhere in the talk.
 – Search and order at least one book on humor skills, or one book which you find funny, or one recording or video with a focus on humor that works for you.
 – At least once each week, go to breakfast, lunch, or dinner with someone who makes you laugh.
 – Open each speech with one Observational Humor line.
 – Enter the Humor Power Tips joke contest every month.
 – Join a Toastmasters club, if you’re not already a member.
 – Join an improv troupe.  It’s fun and challenging.  It’s like going to the humor gym to workout and strengthen your skills.
 – Once a month, play games with a child.  You don’t have a child?  Borrow one!  Volunteer to be a babysitter for a friend.  You’ll watch their child for a few hours if they’ll spend the afternoon going to a funny movie.  It’s a win-win trade.  Each of you will get a break from the daily routine and you’ll both add a little humor to you life.

What Makes YOU Laugh?

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

In our joke contest for October there were common themes mentioned in What Makes You Laugh:

Authority Figures
Taking Self Lightly
Embarrassing Moments
Funny People
Slapstick Moments

The question is what makes YOU laugh?  And then when the going gets tough, it’s important that you remember the answer to that question and to bring those things into your life.  Especially when life is dealing you lemons, avoid toxic people and situations.  Do something on purpose to bring some laugh starters into your day.  What works for you may be different than what makes someone else laugh.

  – Take a coffee break with a friend who makes you laugh.
  – Play with a kitten.
  – Read a chapter in a book by a favorite humorist.
  – See a comedy at the movies.
  – Tell a friend about one of your embarassing moments.

Or play with a child.  Don’t have one?  Volunteer to baby sit for a friend.  Your friend can go to a movie and you can spend the evening laughing with a three-year-old.  You both win.

Make a list that works for you.  Think of these as mini-vacation starters.  And the next time you’re under stress, break the pattern by adding to your life What Makes You Laugh!

Fun Video Links

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Here are a couple of great YouTube links.  If you’d like to add a smile to your day, visit the sites.

An excellent Johnny Carson clip:  Politician Lie Detector.  Sent to me by my cousins Beth Colvin and Ed Howard.

I enjoy a good flash mob.  I recommend this one sent to me by my Toastmaster and Barbershop Chorus friend, Karen Lewison.

Wisdom, Truth and Other Illusions

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The key to humor is the ability to see thoughts, objects and events in a different way.  Happiness and a stress-free life are shaped by the same process.  There is always another way of looking at life.  Sharpening that skill leads us to better speaking, better thinking and better living.  Those thoughts motivated me to write this article.  If you like it…great.  If you don’t…be glad that it’s the only article like this that I’ve written since I started my blog six years ago.

Wisdom, Truth and Other Illusions

1.  A sense of humor is about perceptions, relationships and re-framing life’s experiences in a positive way.
2.  Problem solving involves making previously unnoticed connections.  Developing humor uses the same process.
3.  My perceptions are grounded in truth…sometimes…when I’m lucky.
4.  Choices and decisions harden into habits and attitudes.
5.  New knowledge is understood by connecting it to existing knowledge.  That’s why new knowledge is not always better than old knowledge.
6.  The advice of others becomes wisdom after passing the test of time.
7.  Well-intentioned advice may lead to the edge of a cliff.
8.  Truth and wisdom are not default insights.
9.  A belief might have value even though it may be wrong.
10.  Would you rather be right and miserable or wrong and happy?
11.  Being right is a subjective state.  And often a fragile and fleeting one.
12.  When you stop thinking, you don’t have what’s RIGHT, you only have what’s LEFT unconsidered.  And you’re much less likely to be in touch with what is correct.
14.  Your superstitions may be obvious to others.
15.  When you are weighing what is right or wrong…the correct answer usually lies somewhere in the middle.
16.  The easy path to truth would seem like a shortcut if it weren’t an oxymoron.
17.  Hypocrisy is the proud partner of blind arrogance.
18.  Your logic makes sense until it contradicts my truth.
19.  Considering someone else’s thinking reflects well on your character.
20.  Criticizing someone else’s thinking reflects on the limits of your own thought.
21.  Love and kindness are not expressions or emotions.  They are lifestyles.
22.  Words are smothered by the shadow of action.
23.  The wisdom of the ages may be gold…or it may lead you down a well-worn path to a faulty truth. 
24.  Truth is strengthened by examination.  That which fears examination is not truth.
25.  What is right and wrong doesn’t always reflect what is correct and proper…but it does show us who has the power to make the rules. 
26.  Safe-guard the rights and welfare of others as though they were your own.
27.  If you can’t clearly view the other side, you’ll never see the big picture.
28.  Insisting on your point of view for the sake of principle…is fuel for endless argument and a recipe for stagnation.
29.  Enjoy the moment.  A drop in time is the essence of your life.  Be significant and let the ripple of your thoughts and actions make a positive difference.
30.  Most people make the world a better place because they lived.  The others make the world a better place because they died. 
31.  You leave a mark of beauty on the world or you tag it with graffiti.
32.  If you want to tighten a screw and someone hands you a hammer, don’t assume that because they own a tool they are an expert.
33.  If you add your assessment of the facts to your interpretation of another person’s intentions; you are mixing opinion with an intuitive guess, giving you a sum of questionable value.
34.  In most situations, the facts are shaped by your opinions.
35.  The body turns peanut butter into brain tissue.  Don’t debunk that which you fail to understand.
36.  Your interpretations are clouded by the lens of your experience.  And truth is obscured by the same.
37.  Good vibes sent out the front window return thru the back door.
38.  Most people are trying to do the right thing.
39.  Believe in the good intention and motivation of others and forgiveness will never be necessary.
40.  Yesterday was the first time I was mistaken…again.

Share your truth and wisdom by posting a comment on the Humor Power Blog.  Your thoughtful insights are appreciated.

Amazing Performance on Talent Show

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Another Susan Boyle moment on Britain’s Got Talent.  Jonathan Antoine and Charlotte Jaconelli amaze the judges and the audience.  Once again we learn the lesson:  Never Judge a Book by its Cover!

A Positive Perpective

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Seven years ago I was bothered by barking dogs.  My neighbors on BOTH sides had dogs that barked every time I stepped into my own backyard.  They barked if a car pulled up in front of the house.  They barked for almost any reason.

It took some time, but I eventually came up with a perspective which allowed me to overlook the barking:  If prowlers were checking out my backyard, the dogs would bark.  The last thing prowlers would want is something announcing their presence.  At night, if the dogs were not barking, my backyard was secure.  Free guard dogs!  They were part of my security system…and I didn’t have to feed them, care for them, or take them on walks.  With my new perspective, I was rarely bothered by the barking.

Now I’m looking for a positive perspective on the neighbor’s cat that poops in my garden.  The thought of free fertalizer doesn’t do the trick.

A Flash Mob

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

My friend Karen Lewison recently sent me a fun flash mob video.

Normally, a flash mob is a group which appears in a public place, seemingly out of nowhere.  They participate in an activity which usually entertains, amazes, surprises, raises curiosity, or confuses the spectators.  A good flash mob does not block access, interrupt commerce, break laws, or make people angry.  The activity is usually short and intended to be fun for everyone.

May 2, 2011, the Copenhagen Philharmonic amazed commuters at the Copenhagen Central Train Station, performing Ravel’s Bolero.  It’s more elaborate than your average flash mob, because they needed to bring their instruments.  Watch the reaction of the spectators.  To me, it falls into the “random act of kindness” category.  They add a bright spot to the day of total strangers.  Typical of many flash mobs, the activity starts small, with one person and then builds.  When it’s over, the mob pretends nothing happened and quickly dissolves into the crowd.

Some flash mobs involve dance routines, but most of them have an activity which is simple compared to the Copenhagen event.  I’ve never organized a flash mob nor participated in one, but there are sites online which can give you ideas on making a flash mob happen.  It looks like it would be fun.