A Sense of Humor in the Workplace … Is it me? Or, was that not funny?

A Sense of Humor in the Workplace … Is it me? Or, was that not funny?

When I was first initiated into Corporate America, I had a sense of humor that went unmatched by any mortal soul. I was quick-witted, smart, sharp, and knew every gag and joke available to humanity. Most of it, I learned in college. But, college never really did teach the fact that having a sense of humor in the workplace is different than ‘jocularity.’ After a few brushes with career-chaos, I realized that the definition of ‘corporate humor’ deals with how one handles oneself and not how one can elicit laughter.
— Where did this come from? —
One of my friends came to Las Vegas last week to visit and relax a bit. He and I went out and checked out some of the local bands. During the course of the evening, he brought up some issues about his current job situation. After some introductory words, we discussed the issue that he seems to get blamed for some of the stupidest things, that he never did, and no one takes him seriously anymore. Then, he cracked some joke about it and we carried on.
Not being taken seriously by your peers is actually a common problem with people who do have a sense of humor. But, funny has no place in the workplace and can easily wreak havoc on an otherwise blossoming career.
— So, no more laughter? —
Of course, laughter is necessary in life. But, in a professional setting, it becomes a different type of laughter. One situation you will encounter as you move through your career is the seriousness of professionalism. Of course, to some, this is not a problem. But, to those that have a funny bone, this is a big problem and a detriment to one’s career.
You have to realize that when your boss asks if you have a sense of humor, he’s not asking if you’re a clown. What he is asking is whether or not you can accept criticism, deal with difficult people, and gracefully handle mistakes without snapping people’s heads off when things get stressful. It is important and considered professional to be able to take criticism lightly as it is sometimes used as a tool of ‘turf wars’ than an actual personal attack.
— Hey, that was funny! —
If you begin to crack jokes and make snide remarks, you will eventually not be taken seriously in the workplace. You will be seen as someone who wastes time because every time that someone approaches you to discuss a project or other issues with you, some of that time is spent explaining your humorous comments. Additionally, many corporate-minded individuals do not have the time to analyze comments with hidden meanings and will take what you say as absolute. Therefore, if you make a ‘stupid’ comment in hopes of eliciting a smile, your comment will be taken as an absolute and a representation of your professionalism in the workplace. Finally, if your comments do have hidden meanings or contain humorous connotations, then anything you say will be taken as unreliable, thus labeling you as unreliable.
Realize that the corporate culture labels you by ‘visible change,’ not completely by merit. What I mean is, the last way you presented yourself is the way that you will be seen in the workplace. If you are a serious, pleasant, and hard worker, you will be seen that way. If you crack a joke in the middle of a serious moment, from then on, you will be seen as a joker.
— Look over there! —
One thing to keep in mind is that many people crack jokes and make ‘humorous’ comments when they are uncomfortable or lack confidence in a situation. If this applies to you, realize that your peers know this as well. Being overly humorous under stress gives off a sign of weakness within the workplace and will also cause you to be ousted from the ranks.
Try to find another outlet for discomfort or confidence issues. Perhaps a favorite ink pen or a small quartz crystal to toy with in such situations will remind you to maintain your professional façade as well as keep you calm.
— Watch what you say! —
One of the big problems facing corporate cultures today is that, in general, everyone is ‘sensitive’ to everything. Instead of working together for a common goal, there are individuals that stay on their toes looking for that one thing that they can use to cause some sort of upheaval within the culture. With that, corporate-minded peers are also on the lookout for those who might do or say something to upset those sensitive individuals.
Because of this situation, there truly is no room in a standard corporate culture for remarks and comments that in certain groups might otherwise be humorous. You have to realize that when you speak within a corporate culture, be concise, be realistic, and do not add comedic breaks or sarcasm. Since everyone is taking everything ‘seriously’ with a ‘sense of humor’ for themselves, then whatever you say will be taken seriously and could easily land you in hot water.
To alleviate the chance of being misinterpreted, keep emotion and personal beliefs out of the context of your conversations. Basically, listen closely and be concise in what you say. Not only does this eliminate the problem of having people take you wrong, but it also saves a lot of time.
— The Deadly Silence —
There are several little games played within the corporate environment to elicit a fatal comment from the unwary. The most deadly game is the ‘long pause.’ In many cases, you might sit before your boss, or peers, and provide information on a particular subject or project. During the course of the discussion, you notice that your audience appears to be listening to everything you say. Then, at the end of your soliloquy, the audience seems dead or stuck in a mental time warp. This pause can last for as long as 10 seconds.
During this pause, it might seem as though your audience is mulling through your comments, but this is not entirely the case. They are creating an uncomfortable pause for you to begin doubting your comments in hopes that you divulge additional information and demonstrate your lack of confidence and discomfort.
This situation will get you every single time if you’re not aware that it is only a game. One purpose of this game is so that the audience can acquire additional information from you that you would have otherwise never divulged. On the other hand, the audience might be trying to acquire your nonsensical traits from your discomfort to use during a future turf war. Again, be concise, and then listen. Wait out the infinite pause without saying a word and you’ll see that they were just waiting for you to speak.
— What’s next? —
Realize that you can still have fun and enjoy your work without the frolicky antics of a pubescent employee. One mishap can destroy a lifetime of kudos making it is easier to fall from graces than to repair a reputation. Companies want people they can count on 100% of the time, not just when you’re serious and comfortable. Focus, take responsibility, move forward competently, and produce quality results.
If you’ve already fallen because of your sense of humor, then you will have to work hard to get back into the good graces of the culture. All you have to do is maintain a professional façade, realize that corporate America is ‘not personal,’ and motivate in your career with confidence.

Funny gifts. To give or not to give.

Funny gifts. To give or not to give.

When deciding whether or not to send someone a funny gift, consider the following two things in order to avoid potentially embarrassing your receiver. First and most importantly, consider your relationship with the recipient in judging the appropriateness of your humor. A secretary, for example, should not give her married boss a suggestive gift on the occasion of his retirement, and likewise, a boss should not give his secretary such a gift in recognition of her tenth anniversary with the firm. Second, consider the occasion, and err on the side of conservatism whenever doubt exists as to whether or not it calls for humor. It is never appropriate, for example, to give a gag gift to a bride or groom on their wedding day, nor is ever acceptable to send a card or gift that makes fun of something personal such as a person’s appearance, health or age.

Unless you are absolutely positive of the recipient’s sense of humor, it is better, as a rule, not to send gifts that are humorous if there’s a chance they might offend. If you simply cannot resist the temptation to yuk it up at your friend’s expense, practice at least some degree of restraint in choosing the gift by keeping a few common-sense rules of etiquette in mind. Always consider carefully your receiver’s audience at the time your gift is revealed. Will there be children present at the party? Will someone’s wife be offended by what your gift implies? Ask yourself if a loved one’s feelings might be hurt when they open up a gift that makes fun of their personality, their physical appearance or their age?

Even if your recipient seems to possess a great sense of humor when he or she is alone with you, that does not indicate a “green light” for you to give a funny gift that teases. Always remember that there are people out there who enjoy dishing it out and playing their jokes upon others, but when the tables are turned, they cannot take your ribbing no matter how harmless it may seem to be. It is in this way that some people are more selective than others in maintaining a sense of humor. If this is the case with your friend, you are a better off in taking the highroad than in choosing a gift that may cause his haunches to rise. Remember too that what you and your friend once shared as a private joke between you many years ago, may not seem so funny to him now. Understand and accept that with maturity, a person’s perception as to what is funny and what is not may change with time.

So think twice before you decide to send or give a funny gift, and always remember that a gift is more than just a gift, it is an affirmation of the relationship that you share with your recipient right now. If you do decide to send a funny gift, be sure that it is one that will not only make the recipient laugh, but that his guests will laugh as well. An appropriately funny gift should also turn out, somehow, to be useful later on, after the occasion has past.

Does all of this serious talk about gift giving take the wind out of your sails when it comes to showing your good cheer? Well don’t let it, because there are certain types of gifts that you can give that do manage to tickle a funny bone while remaining well within the bounds of what most people would consider acceptable humor. Traditionally, these gifts are items which are not normally given as gifts, but for the circumstances of the occasion make them funny in and of themselves. The young graduate, for example, who is sure to set the world afire, may be given a fancy lighter to start him blazing down his path. Later on in life, when he’s succeeded in making partner, he may display or keep the lighter as a reminder of his earlier days.

Gifts of anticipation can also be humorous in a good hearted in a unique and sentimental way, and these gifts are the easiest to give when one’s financial situation does not allow for something bigger. As an example, a young sailing enthusiast might be given a world map wrapped up with a card that expresses something like the following : We hope that the enclosed map will help you to find all of the treasures of the world, and, the quickest way back home should you find yourself in need of a hot shower and a place to get your laundry done for free.

One last thing to keep in mind when choosing funny gifts for women, as a rule, woman are less appreciative of such things, especially when the gift is given by a male. According to a large-scale survey, the percentage of females who are receptive to receiving funny gifts is very insignificant in comparison to men. The reason is not likely to be that women in general lack the sense of humor of men, but more likely, it is because most women do not like to be made to feel as though they are being laughed at in any way. Just as women don’t commonly like to talk about their age, neither to they want do be reminded of it by the so called funny cards and gifts they are bound to receive when turning yet another year.

In general occasions of gift giving are taken more seriously by women and by nature, women are more sensitive, and more likely, therefore, to be upset by someone’s clumsy attempt at being funny. It is always best with women to be sincere in your attempt to recognize an important occasion; always remember that with women, it is not about the gift itself, its about the thought that you put into picking it out for them. For her, it is your intention that turns a humbly wrapped trinket into precious treasure every time.

Comedy Film Festivals

Comedy Film Festivals

Summary: Funny films could never be even better, all that because of the recognition they vie on the Comedy Film Festivals

Comedy when enjoyed in a communal circumstance can be the best experience. Such were the words of wisdom according to the gospel by the WCFF. So what could be an even better communal circumstance than comedy film festivals?

Comedy films have always been evolving, and comedic ingredients have been in a constant flux but the outcome is always the same: we laugh hard. ROFLOL. Just as we laughed at the Three Stooges who seemed very funny yesterday with its grainy slapstick humor as we laugh today at The MASK with its eye boggling jaw splitting special effects humor.

Comedy films could never be even better, all that because of the recognition they all vie on the Comedy Film Festivals. That’s why comedy films have been in constant flux, ever evolving to come up with the recent formula of laughter to showcase to the crowds gathered at the annual comedy film festivals.

The World of Comedy Film Festival (WCFF) is one reason why comedy films strive for excellence. The WCFF provides comedy filmmakers a chance to showcase promising works to the laughter expectant crowd of the annual World of Comedy Film Festival on Toronto Canada. The WCFF is being presented by The Humor Group (THG), an independent non profit organization. To visit them, log on to www.worldcomedyfilmfest.com

Over the Fence International Comedy Film Festivals at www.overthefence.com.au is an Australian event organized by Voces Arts Networking Group solely for non profit. This festival encourages the growth of funny bones on Australians. Aussie culture and humor depicted on films whether independent or not can make it to the Over the Fence Comedy Film Festivals where it can receive due recognition.

For 10 years, OTF have arduously build a reputation as a unique, entertaining, and exciting event and now it is considered Australia’s national comedy film festival. OFT is celebrated annually, which is quite different from other comedy film festivals that take place in a more frequent timetable.

The Melbourne International Comedy Festival a great way to witness Comedy Film Festivals in its workings. It features short independent films in a free big screen at Federation Square. So if you’re near the vicinity, check it out for a few good laughs. Log on to www.comedyfestival.com.au for more info about upcoming events.

Like the 1st Sundays Comedy Film Festivals at www.firstsundays.com which as the name implies takes place every 1st Sundays of the month. 1st Sundays Comedy Film Festivals cater more on short comedy films and spoofs.

Throughout the ages comedy films have made everything it touches better. It makes suffering lighter, sickness tolerable, and despair a painless suffering. That’s why it’s beyond doubt that comedy films did earn that special place in the limelight of cinematography.

Love in Development of the Social Self Environment

Love in Development of the Social Self Environment

-Loving Each Other In Joy

The only thing worth having in life is a sense of humor. Joy is the greatest achievement to humans. It shows the total personality of one self to the outside world. No one can be happy unless they believe they are.

Relationships are impossible without a sense of humor ;laughter and joy. Life should never be taken likely. This is serious business. To a certain degree this is true. This gives even more reason to have a sense of humor. It takes courage to laugh in a world where there is rape; killings; and so much hurt toward others.

There are many people that actually feel guilty when they’re happy. Often one may feel as if they are going to be punished for sharing a roaring laugh. Just look at all the comics that are hired to make people laugh. This has probably save many people from the straight jacket. Life is a wonderful joke and humans are actually the center of it.

Joy; laughter; and humor are all wonderful in bringing comfort into a relationship. This helps in relieving tension. Joy can actual help in aiding digestion. It tends to stimulate the heart and strengthens muscles.

Joy and happiness are simply states of the mind. This is good in finding creative solutions. When one is full of joy, they are more open to enjoying life. You are prone to seeing things clearer and able to handle daily tension. When one laughs it secretes a hormone that tends to act as a natural painkiller. If you are too lazy to jog , simply laugh . This causes all the vital organs to vibrate and jostle.

When you have nothing to do, no one to love , and it seems you have no one to love, joy will come into your life. You should always love completely. Never relinquish your dreams. These things will help you , but joy will only be yours when you choose it to be. Most people are only as happy as one makes up their mind to be. Many relationships have been saved by a good belly laugh.

Often one may seem to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, never fear an ounce of joy can remove that weight. Ever so often, one needs to create a level of freedom and risk. This should include an active environment full of surprises and a sense of humor. It is very easy to bond in an environment of joy.

It is rather weird that the happiest people are those that seem to have no particular reason to rejoice. They are just simply happy. You can sense the willingness to risk; and the ability to fail but let go. Truly they believe in themselves. This shows the unique resource of creativity and the ability to hold on to their dreams.

Everyone is responsible for his or her own happiness. You may define your happiness in a unique way. No one can tell you what makes you happy, even though there are some people that will try.
Only a fool would expect to find happiness continuously and try to hold on to it. Happiness occurs as an n action to some feeling. Very seldom does one realize that all this joy and happiness comes from within one self.

Human beings are very comical and life has given everyone the opportunity to enjoy laughter and joy. All that is necessary is the need to laugh again. Laughter is the youthful side of repentance and of misunderstanding. Laughter is probably the closest distance that two people will share. So if you need something to bring you together in a relationship , laughter is sure way. Laughter is brought on spontaneous and brings much joy to one self.

5 Must-Have Techniques For Creating Unbelievably Productive Copy

5 Must-Have Techniques For Creating Unbelievably Productive Copy

1. Get Specific
Nothing can spell out BORING quicker than bland claims that really say nothing. "My clients make more money!" is a perfect example of poor copy that could use a little life. What happens when you change it to, "My clients increased their sales by 23.5% in the first 30 days!" Now that is kicking! It’s specific and exciting.

Be sure that your claims sound believable, no matter how unbelievable they are. People are skeptical of "too good to be true" claims. It’s better to tone it down, and let them be surprised when it exceeds their expectation.

2. Keep It Short and Sweet
Long paragraphs and complex sentences look too much like work to read. Yeah, readers get bored quickly and easily. Chop it up, and break it up. Don’t use paragraphs of more than 7 lines or sentences longer that 18 words. Find ways to shorten it up, and you’ll keep the readers attention.

How many long words are in your copy? Replace them with short common words to create a reader-friendly appeal. Let your copy speak to them in the language they are used to hearing. Well, if your readers don’t like to spend a lot of time reading… it pays to choose your words carefully.

3. Keep it Active
Eliminate dull passive phrases. They do little, except bore the heck out of your readers. Dig them out and replace them highly active words that will motivate the reader to get up out of his easy chair and DO something.

The call to action is the most important part of any advertisment. Call, subscribe, join, order, buy… make them hear the call loud enough that they do something – NOW.

4. Skip the Humor
In the right place, and at the right time, humor is an effective tool. Written sales copy just isn’t it. Ads are short, concise and to the point. Humor tends to get in the way and distract.

Real life stories captivate readers. They relate to them. The human interest of these stories draws the reader into the message, whereas humor distracts them for the point.

5. Us A Powerful P.S.
A P.S. can be a powerful way to emphasize your product, highlight the points of benefit, or dramatize effects of the purchase. It’s the perfect way to summarize your page.

The P.S. is most powerful on Web pages. Surfers often read the headlines and skim to the P.S. where they look to get an idea of what’s on the page, and if it’s worth their time to read it. Put some effort into making your P.S. captivating.

Great Technical Writing: The Two-edged Sword Of Reader Experience

Great Technical Writing: The Two-edged Sword Of Reader Experience

Overview

When we write User Documents we rely on our Reader’s/User’s experience to simplify our work. This can cause problems for the Reader. This article will discuss the effects of Reader experience and how to minimize the negative effects of incompatible experience, and how to handle the writer’s assumptions about the Reader.

Writer’s Benefits: Relying on Reader Experience

When we write, we rely on our Reader’s experience to give us a "starting point" for our User Document. Often we make hidden assumptions about our Reader’s experience.

Here are some examples where relying on our Reader’s experience makes things easy (and causes problems) for us as writers:

Example: Using a Computer’s Mouse

In writing User Documentation for Graphical User Interface-based computer products (such as the Windows or Mac User interface), we assume that the the Reader knows how to use a mouse to click on items, drag, etc. This saves much background writing.

Example: Cooking: How to Measure Ingredients; Terms

Cook books save space by (usually correctly) assuming that a Reader can perform basic cooking operations (such as measuring ingredients), and terms (such as puree or slice).

Example: Common Acronyms

We rely on "common" acronyms such as AM and PM to simplify our writing lives. However, many Readers use a 24 hour clock, and thus AM and PM are meaningless to them.

Beware of any acronyms that you assume that your Reader knows. It is best to define acronyms in line (perhaps in parentheses) when they are first presented in that part of the User Document.

You cannot define them only the first time they appear in the User Document. This assumes — incorrectly — that Users read your User Document from start to finish.

Problems Writers Cause When Assuming User Experience

Our assumptions as writers can get us into trouble.

Example: Unfamiliar Words

Here’s a gardening example: Acme’s (a fictitious company) Illustrated Guide to Gardening in Canada (1979) makes an incorrect assumption about its Readers:

In one of their definitions they use a term, "the axil of a leaf" to define another term. "Axil of a leaf" is not listed in the book’s index, and there is no glossary in the book. Clearly this book assumes that the Reader understands the term "the axil of a leaf." I don’t, and am therefore unhappy with the presentation.

Solution: Provide a glossary of gardening terms or a reference to a page in the book where the term is defined.

Example: Assuming Students’ Experience

Here is an example where an (unstated) assumption by a training company rendered one of their courses useless.

In order to do the exercises in a computer programming course, students had to be able to use an editor (a simple word processor) to program the system. The only editor available on the course machines was a UNIX editor known as vi.

Unfortunately, the students were not told that they needed to use the vi editor. The course presenters assumed that the students knew vi. The students did not, and they spent half the course time trying to learn and deal with vi.

The hidden assumption by the training company resulted in a failed learning experience (the students never needed to use vi again). It wasted two days of the four-day course time.

Don’t Present Assumptions in a Sneaky Way

If the training company had said that, "We train on UNIX systems," then they leave a way out for themselves when they disappoint students who do not know the vi editor. When confronted, the company could respond with, "We told you it was a UNIX system. You should know that vi is the editor available on that system."

This sneaky statement of the assumption is foolish. It will result in a lose-lose situation.

The Bottom Line

As writers, we to make assumptions about our Reader’s experience. However, if you make assumptions, then make sure that you tell the Reader what you assume about him/her.

Think about the assumptions that you make about your Reader. Are these assumptions valid (that is, can you really expect your Readers to meet your assumptions)? If there is any doubt in your mind, include information explaining the terms and procedures that you assume.

Make sure that when you state assumptions, that you present them in a way that the Reader (student) can understand what the assumption means to them. Don’t be sneaky about presenting the assumptions.

User Experience Can Cause Trouble for Writers

Your Reader’s experience can cause confusion. Here are some examples:

Example: Shampoo/Conditioner Product

One of my favorite examples is a combined hair shampoo and conditioner product. If a User has experience with the separate products, then their experience is to:

* Shampoo: Wet thenhair. Massage shampoo into the hair, then rinse it out.
* Conditioner: Wash the hair. Massage conditioner into the wet hair, leave in the hair for two or three minutes, then rinse it out.

The problem arises with the combined product. Should the User leave the product in the hair for two or three minutes (as done with the conditioner), or rinse it immediately (as done with the shampoo)?

The User Document (product label) for a combined shampoo-conditioner should tell the User how to use the two-in-one product. Most such labels do not.

Example: Words Used in Unexpected Ways

Your writing can set the expectations of the Reader, resulting in confusion when words are used unexpectedly.

An article in the Technology Section (of a newspaper on June 10, 2004, page B14) described, "How the little guy can back up computer data". The article was about computers. When I came to the sentence: "Let’s face it: backups are boring and a hassle to boot." I wondered about the phrase "to boot."

In computer jargon, "boot" is the process where the computer starts up ("lifts itself by its bootstraps"…by a program originally called a "bootstrap loader"). Does the author’s quote about "hassle to boot" mean that if I do backups, then my computer will be slower ("boring") and require more work from me to start up ("hassle to boot")?

The use of the phrase "to boot" is inappropriate in this article, given that "to boot" has multiple meanings. The author used it as slang for "in addition to." Since the article was about computers, I thought of the computer meaning of "to boot." The sentence would be less confusing if the author left out "to boot," as: "Let’s face it: backups are boring and a hassle." We’ll return to this example shortly.

Example: Functional Fixedness

An object’s function is fixed in a person’s mind. For example, a hammer’s function is to pound things. Experiments have demonstrated that people have a hard time using a hammer for an unusual function, such as a paperweight, a prop, or a lever. This is called functional fixedness.

Functional fixedness can limit the usefulness of your product. Your User Document should attempt to overcome functional fixedness. Perhaps this example will show how critical I am of User Documents.

I have a wrist global positioning satellite (GPS) device that keeps track of my long walks. Sweaters and heavy coats, needed for walking in the winter, make it difficult to wear the GPS device on the wrist. But it is a WRIST device. Functional fixedness arises, causing me struggle to use the GPS on my wrist. But it turns out that the GPS works well when used in a pocket.

The GPS User Document should mention this (obvious?) capability, thus reducing the functional fixedness associated with the WRIST GPS. In my defense: I am not sure that putting the wrist GPS in a pocket is more obvious than using a hammer as a paperweight.

Example: Humor

Humor relies on:

. a subtle knowledge of the language (for example a pun)
. or a knowledge of an event (perhaps a current event or entertainment event)

on which the humor is based. Here’s an example, from an old joke:

"You’re so funny, you should be on a stage. There’s one leaving in 15 minutes."

This joke relies on the Reader’s knowing the two meanings of "stage": (1) a place for performing, and (2) transportation used in the western United States in the 1800′s. Most Readers might not know the second meaning, rendering the humor a confusing waste of words.

Earlier we examined the sentence: "Let’s face it: backups are boring and a hassle to boot." The author used the phrase "to boot" as some form of folksy talk or humor. It confused the Reader.

Eliminate Humor from Your User Document

. Humor will only confuse Users who do not understand it.
. Humor is difficult, if not impossible, to translate into other languages.

I suggest that you use a writing style that is informal and conversational, but with no attempts at humor. Remove attempts at humor when you review and revise your writing.

If you want to write humor, do it elsewhere (you should be on a stage). User Documents are no place to practice your humor.

The Bottom Line

Assumptions

Be careful about what you assume about your Reader. When in doubt whether or not a Reader knows something:

. State your assumptions about your Reader
State the assumptions in a way that the Reader can relate to
. When in doubt, add the information that you assume, or
. Tell your Reader where to find the assumed information
By providing or pointing to this assumed information, you increase your audience

Readers’ Experience

Be aware of how your Reader’s experience influences how he/she interprets your User Document or uses your product. If necessary add material to your User Document to counter your Reader’s incompatible experience.

Similarity Breeds Comedy

Similarity Breeds Comedy

My last piece I talked about associating or pairing up opposites to produce funny ideas. Now we associate SIMILARITY or CONGRUITY; by puting the same or similar objects, person or animals together to engender laughter.
One good example is a pair of identical twins or two person wearing the same clothes. They naturally appear "odd" or "funny" to others. People will stare, giggle or whisper some cheeky or unkind remarks uder their breath. It’s a very normal response.
For cartoonists, this association of similarity can spawn lots of funny doodles. They can draw a person looking like an animal or two unrelated objects which are visually alike. The most popular is the garden hose partly hidden by the foliage and mistaken as a snake.
Caricature is a visual art form that employs the technique of congruity. It doesn’t look exactly like the actual person being drawn, but just a distorted or an exaggerated impression of the person and it looks kind of funny, doesn’t it?
Aside from visual art form, many verbal humor derives from this technique too. The most obvious form of verbal humor is the puns. A pun is a play on words, usually humorous based on several meanings of one word, or a similarity of meanings between words that are pronounced the same or the different in meanings between two words pronounced the same and spelled somewhat similarly. Following closely is another form verbal humor, called the double entendres. It can be a word or an expression having a double meaning, especially the second meaning is risque.
So, similarity breeds not only contempt, but comedy too!

Fun Ideas For The Holidays

Fun Ideas For The Holidays

The holiday season is a great time to share some smiles and laughs! And holiday humor helps you develop a well-tuned humor radar.
1. Have a humorous gift exchange at your holiday party. This works great if you have a healthy humor climate where people use humor in a positive way.
2. Just before the holidays, encourage people to bring some of their favorite ethnic holiday treats to work or one of your group meetings. Coming from a Norwegian background, I’d bring rosettes, fatigmand and lefse.
3. Decorate a tree for the holidays with a humorous flair. For example, a car dealership could decorate a tree using car parts. If you travel a lot, collect fun trinkets from your trips to brighten your tree.
4. Save the holiday cards you receive this year and "recycle" them next year. Just cross out the sender’s signature, sign your name, and mail it back to the person who gave it to you. You’ll start a humorous tradition. I do not recommend sharing this humorous exchange with everyone you get a card from. Be selective!
5. Look for opportunities to take a funny photo of yourself, your staff, or your family. Then use it on a photo holiday greeting card. I’ve sent a photo card sharing my Halloween costume as a power-nerd.
6. Create your own customized gift wrap. For example, on a large-sheet photo copier you could make personalized wrapping paper decorated with family photos or pictures from your office.
7. Wrap a holiday gift in a "nest of boxes" (a small box in a larger box, in a larger box, etc). When the large box is opened by the recipient, the box inside is addressed to someone else. And the next box is addressed to someone else! The final box indicates who really receives the gift; a "musical chairs" style of gift exchange. A nice touch is to give a gift in the final box that can be enjoyed by the whole group. For example, in a family situation, the final box may have Mom’s name on it, but contain a trip to Disneyland for the whole family. This is fun because everyone shared in opening the gift.
8. Make extra effort to guarantee that your holiday party is FUN. People won’t remember a chicken dinner a year from now. But they’ll always remember when they’ve had a great time and spent the evening laughing together. Your investment making sure the event is entertaining gives you great returns in goodwill and valuable experience in the planning process.
9. Assign a committee to prepare some holiday fun. Write a script filled with humor about your company and people you work with. Write a song parody of one of your favorite holiday tunes which is a tribute to your staff. Present it at a holiday party, or post it on a bulletin board in your office.
10. Remember the true sprit of the holidays. Tis the season to be jolly! Decorate your face with a smile and share it with others.

Always Leave Them Laughing

Always Leave Them Laughing

One of the major objectives of any trade show exhibit is to create a lasting impression in the attendee’s mind. After all, if a visitor can’t remember you, how can he give you his business? You also want to create a positive impression, and unfortunately, that’s harder to do than the negative equivalent.
Which brings us to humor. People love to laugh – and they like other people to laugh with them. Witness the almost constant flood of jokes and cartoons that flit across the internet: Proof that humor cannot be stopped. You’ll often find that people go out of their way to remember great jokes, where they’ll never, ever stop to jot down the details of an eye-catching graphic. This makes humor an invaluable marketing tool -–if you can make it serve your corporate objectives.
Some of you are dismissing this idea out of hand. “There’s nothing funny about my product!” I can hear you saying. Well, what’s funny about rental cars? Beer? Car insurance? None of these items are inheriently funny, yet companies in all three sectors have effectively used humor to fix their products in the public eye.
It is important to remember that your trade show campaign should be fully integrated into your marketing plan as a whole. If you are using humor in your television and print media, bring it to the show floor. However, if you are known as a stoic and conservative company, playing for laughs at the convention center will fall flat. Consistency in corporate image is key.
What can we learn from companies that have successfully used humor? There are four key lessons.
Avis Rental Cars “We try harder” campaign centers on humorous scenarios highlighting what would happen if a rental car company wasn’t willing to go the extra mile. They film ridiculous situations, such as an attendant handing out books to customers waiting in long lines, and contrast them with the bright, efficient service a customer could expect from their company. It gets a chuckle – but you’d better believe that when a weary traveler is eyeing the rental car company kiosks at the airport, an image of that book-toting attendant flashes through his mind.
Key #1: Exaggerate the norm.
Contrast exaggerated examples of industry ‘norms’ with how your company excels. A restaurant chain that serves large portions could highlight the much smaller servings to be had at the competitor’s. Wendy’s did this very effectively with the “Where’s The Beef?” campaign in the Eighties. Be careful not to explicitly or implicity identify your competitors, or you’ll be hearing from some very angry lawyers.
Remember the Budwiser frogs? How about the lizards? Or the donkey that wanted to be a Clydesdale? Each of these campaigns was phenomenonally successful, yet only tangentially related to the product at hand. Each approach was slightly different. Frogs croaking Bud – wis – er can be inheriently funny, especially if you’ve already had a few brews yourself. It also appealed to the coveted young drinker demographic, as studies have shown an intense brand loyalty among drinkers, generally established in the early twenties. The lizard campaign capitalized on the wry, sarcastic humor enjoyed by Budwiser’s target audience. The donkey campaign tied into the traditional Clydesdale imagery, a strong if staid marketing tool.
Key #2: Know your target audience.
Jokes that appeal to one demographic may not work with another. Gen Y shoppers have especially sharp funny bones, and may appreciate dry wit. Tie in your classic marketing efforts whenever possible.
Geico and AFLAC have recently done very well with their talking animal ads. By using the same animals over and over to reinforce the marketing message – after all, that poor duck could surely use some disability insurance of his own by now! – both companies have created a brand awareness second to none. Ask the random person to identify a disability insurance company, and chances are that they’ll tell you about AFLAC. Ask them about another disability insurance company, and you’ll be lucky if they can name even one.
Key #3: Create a character.
Create a ‘character’ as part of your brand image. This character should show up EVERYWHERE – including television commercials, on the literature you distribute at the show, in your signage and graphics, and potentially as stuffed animals. The Serta Sheep toys have taken on a life of their own, and each and every one of them goes out with the company name blazoned on the side. That’s humorous marketing at work. Consumers buy these secondary products because of the laugh-factor, and bring a constant advertisement into their home. The influence on subsequent purchasing decisions may be minor, but it is in fact there.
Humor can be a great way to convey your marketing message. Geico has done this very well with the “I saved money on my car insurance by switching to Geico!” series of commercials. Exercise equipment salesmen, politicians, animated characters – all have been pressed into service to recite those ten words. Using different settings keeps the audience engaged, while constant repitition drives the message home.
Key #4: Repetition counts.
Remember, consumers need to hear a message at least six times before they’ll recall it easily. The trick is to keep the presentation fresh while the message remains constant.
Comedians world-wide will tell you that humor is a tough business. It’s hard to tell what will make one person laugh and another roll their eyes in disgust. However, if a joke falls flat for a comedian, they simply move on to the next joke and keep moving. If you’ve invested tons of time and money in your humor campaign, you need to know these three things:
1. It must be funny. Test the campaign on objective people. Lots of objective people. If the majority laugh, you’re golden. However, if less than half the people get the joke, drop it.
2. It must be quick. There are great funny jokes that take half an hour to tell. That’s nice. Inflict them on your relatives or when you’ve got a whole room full of trapped subordinates. Customers aren’t going to give you that much of their time. You’ve got half a minute tops to get them laughing.
3. It must reflect well on your company. Ethnic, racial, sexual, and gender based humor has absolutely no place in the corporate world. Perceived slurs – even if they are made in the guise of a joke – will travel around the world as fast as the internet can move, and suddenly your company will have all kinds of attention they don’t want.
Laughing is a lot of hard work, isn’t it? But once you’ve found the right balance, you’ll have an advertising campaign that will draw the crowds into your exhibit – and more importantly, toward buying your products and services.

How to Increase Romance with Humor

How to Increase Romance with Humor

Ask any single adult what qualities he or she wants in a spouse or partner, and one of the first answers is always “a sense of humor.” Yet relationships and most marriages easily lose the early excitement after living together for several years.
Healthy relationships require laughter. Sex is better; everything is better sprinkled with laughter, be it a chuckle, a belly laugh, or an amused smile.
Humor also motivates better results without resentment. For example, instead of nagging your loved one for leaving dirty clothes on the floor or dishes in the sink, write a silly poem and stick it on the bathroom mirror.
Follow one important groundrule: humor should never belittle another person or be at the other person’s expense. Here are a few ideas of how to inject more humor into the special relationship you want to last forever.
Ask your spouse to post a list of outrageous birthday wishes. (You do the same.)
Use travel time on trips to recall fun/ funny incidents about your lives together.
Create awards (or improvise a medal on a fancy ribbon) to present when the spouse overcomes a touch challenge.
Select each other’s underwear!
Together, list the people who make you both laugh the most, and see them more often. Do the same with movies.
Go to lunch and exchange lists of small, daily pleasures.
Give each other small or silly treats.
Create a list of offbeat occasions for giving silly treats.
Go away for a weekend. Explore.
Take on volunteer opportunities together. Try it once, at least.
Go where others are having fun.
Select perfume or cologne for each other…(pick one for your sweetheart that drives YOU crazy!)
Identify your favorite, edible treats from your childhood then center a date around eating it.
Create a scavenger hunt for each other…hiding clues with a present at the end. Photograph the process.
Go bowling or play putt-putt golf, and whisper sexy secrets in the middle of the game.
Practice giving each other very specific compliments on acts of love or service.
Schedule dates in bookstores. Share with each other what delights you. End with a dessert or ice cream.
Flirt with each other at parties or other social events. Make eye contact, and compliment each other publicly.
Order take out and announce a “feed each other” meal. No cheating.
Schedule dates at the fair, circus, zoo, or theme park. Do this at least once a year. Be sure to eat some junk food from your childhood while you are there.
Have a caricature drawn of the two of you…frame it.
Dress up in costumes and take pictures…even if it’s just headgear. Make a scrapbook of these.
Look at each other’s high school annual together… or family album.
Joel Goodman, founder of The Humor Project, reminds us that, “laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Remember this with daily doses, weekly sprinkles, and monthly dollops and your relationship will flourish.