Bob tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.
Your Sense of Humor—Don’t Leave Home Without It (General Audiences)
As young kids, most of us were taught that humor is silly and a waste of time. And so, while five-year-olds laugh hundreds of times a day, adults are down to about fifteen. We’ll see how wrong this prejudice is, and how humor and other forms of play can enhance our professional effectiveness.
Humor has three main benefits. First, it’s physically and psychologically healthy, especially in the way it blocks stress. Secondly, humor makes us mentally flexible—able to manage change, take risks, and think creatively.
And thirdly, humor serves as social lubricant, making us more effective in dealing with colleagues and clients. We’ll experience all these using pictures, cartoons, stories, and exercises.
Leadership and Laughter (Business Executives)
In these times of rapid change and weekly crises, things can get pretty solemn. The last thing you might think appropriate in your work is humor.
But many of today’s most successful executives are famous for their humor.
A Fortune magazine cover features a picture of Southwest Airlines’ Herb Kelleher gliding through the air wearing a WWI leather helmet and goggles.
The caption: “Is Herb Kelleher American’s Best CEO? He’s wild, he’s crazy, he’s in a tough business—and he has built the most successful airline in the U.S.” A survey of Fortune 500 CEOs and deans of business schools got 97% agreement on three things: Humor is important in business. Most executives don’t show enough sense of humor. And when they hire, they give preference to the candidate with the best sense of humor.
We’ll see how humor works in business and how it’s crucial to the new post-heroic paradigm
of leadership. First, humor is physically and psychologically healthy, especially in the way
it blocks stress. Secondly, it makes us mentally flexible—able to manage change, take risks, and think creatively. And thirdly, humor serves as social lubricant, making us more effective in dealing with colleagues and clients.
Laugh for the Health of It (Healthcare Professionals)
“A merry heart does good like a medicine,” the Bible says. And for decades Reader’s Digest has featured humor under the masthead “Laughter is the Best Medicine.” But until recently, medical experts had little to say about the connection between humor and health. Now, that’s changing. In the new field of psychoneuroimmunology, we’re beginning to understand how mirthful laughter gives the heart and lungs a workout, reduces pain, relaxes the whole body, and boosts the immune system. In these and other ways, humor is the opposite of stress. We’ll explore some recent findings and—if it’s not too close to dinner—even speculate on the laxative benefits of laughter.
We’ll also see how hospitals are making humor part of patient care, with humor rooms and comedy carts. And we’ll introduce the medical magazine Stitches, the Journal of Nursing Jocularity, and the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor.
Laugh and Learn (Educators)
￼￼￼Traditional schools suppressed humor and laughter. Kids with musical talent may have been sent to the music room, and those with artistic ability to the art room, but kids with a sense of humor were sent to the Principal’s Office. Recent studies show that even Head Start teachers discourage humor in 3- and 4-year olds! Humor, however, is a kind of play involving divergent (creative) thinking, and traditional education has neglected divergent thinking in its obsession with convergent thinking—getting the single correct answer and not making any mistakes along the way.
We’ll see how educators have begun to reverse the ancient prejudice against humor, and
how, when used correctly, humor has a host of benefits. It gets and holds students’ attention, it promotes retention of what is learned, it fosters critical thinking, and it promotes mental flexibility. We’ll experience all these using pictures, cartoons, stories, and exercises.
Sold on Humor: Humor in Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service
Did you ever wonder why so many Superbowl commercials use humor? (At the Cannes Film Festival, 95% of the winners in the Advertising category are funny.) Have you noticed how even traditionally staid businesses like banking and insurance are now putting humor into their advertising?
We’ll explore six ways humor works with customers. We’ll see how it creates rapport and overcomes sales resistance, opening customers’ minds to new perspectives. And because humor gets customers involved in processing the message, they remember that message better. In customer service, humor provides a moment of unexpected delight. Sometimes this is a bonus—icing on the cake—and sometimes it saves the relationship when things are not going well.
We’ll also explore crucial differences between men’s humor and women’s humor and their implications for business. All these topics are explored using pictures, videos, cartoons, stories, and exercises.