Getting Past Gatekeepers: Don’t Get Left At the Gate When Calling on Decision Makers

Getting Past Gatekeepers: Don’t Get Left At the Gate When Calling on Decision Makers

DOES IT SOMETIMES SEEM AS THOUGH DECISION MAKERS are residing in a gated community? Learn how to bypass gatekeepers (GK) — those professionals who “guard” the decision makers and often run interference for them — to get in front of decision makers (DM).

Traditionally a secretary, administrative assistant or switchboard operator blocked entry. Now there are electronic nemeses as well: voice mailboxes and blind e-mail addresses. Yet gatekeepers can be your adversaries or allies, depending on your approach. Your challenge: to be regarded as important enough to be allowed into their inner sanctum.

Here are my rules of thumb for “Passing Gate” and receiving consideration by decision makers:

<b>DO’s</b>
1. Turn GateKeepers into allies: treat them with respect, humor and compassion. Their job is tough too. They get it from both ends. They are people with their own personality, not faceless obstacles to be overcome at all costs.

2. Help decision makers look good in their manager’s eyes. Can you solve his/her problem? Let the GK know. They will &quot;carry your torch&quot; for you. presenting you as his/her solution to the DM’s problem.

3. Recognize GKs and other intermediaries as vital to your information-gathering mission. Learn more about the DM, his/her department, recent trends, internal machinations within company, from the GK. Be nice to all.

4. Calling before/after GK’s shift will get you through directly. Many DMs work long hours and feel less pressured before/after hours.

5. Gather information with every call you make. Ask appropriate questions and gather information about the decision maker, his or her schedule, what else is happening in the company at the time. Be attuned to insights into the psychological make-up of the person you are calling for. Ask when the best (and worst) time to call is? How do you pronounce your DM’s name? Does he or she prefer an informal name: &quot;T&quot; for Hortence or Condy for Condelezza.

6. Utilize multiple forms of communication to make contact. Use calls, postcards, faxes and e-mails. Ask GKs and DMs about their preferred ways of communicating.

7. The phrase “returning his/her call” upgrades your call’s importance in GK’s eyes. Use it to indicate past history.

8. When leaving repeated voice mail messages, list a different benefit you provide during each message, as a way to both qualify and distinguish yourself.

9. Keep your messages succinct: be short and sweet.

10. Stay upbeat — even if it’s the 10th unreturned message you’re leaving.

11. Be creative/funny/distinguishable so as to get consideration.

12. Humor works. Self-effacing humor and humor in solidarity with the gatekeeper help open doors.

13. When all else fails, have your Gatekeeper call theirs!

<b>DON’Ts</b>
1. Call and claim you’re family, or claim to be calling from the police, IRS or FBI.

2. Become surly, rude or sarcastic. It’s a turn-off and suggests immaturity and a lack of flexibility.

3. Avoiding filling up your recipient’s voice mailbox with long and detailed messages. It’s inconsiderate and shows bad judgment on your part. Use your short elevator speech instead.

4. Don’t make the Decision Maker wrong for not being there to answer you in person, or for not having responded yet. Believe it or not, you’re not the center of their universe!

5. Avoid using clichés and following scripts. Show some personality and spunk such that you’ll stand apart from the crowd when you call and be memorable when they decide who to call back.

Treat others like the valued individuals they are and remain confident you’re someone whose call decision makers will be glad they took. The only Gates you may not master on your first call…Bill Gates.

Readers Digest

Readers Digest

There is one magazine that I have read since I was old enough to understand what is printed inside, and if I see a Readers Digest today, I have to pick it up and read it. I don’t know why this is, but I have always loved to read them, and I think it might be perhaps it is such a good slice of life, with just the right amount of humor thrown in. I read a lot of the women’s magazines my grandmother had when I was younger, but nothing could ever compare to the Readers Digest.

I haven’t had a subscription in a long time, but I still read it. A friend often gives me his old magazines, and he usually gives me the Readers Digest from the month before. When I did have a subscription, however, I was very pleased with the price. Back then, I got it for under ten dollars a year, and I think the price might be just about the same today, though I am not sure. Usually if I buy one new today, I spend the money to buy it off the news shelf.

The humor sections in Readers Digest are by far my favorites. This is probably because for the most part, these clips are things that have happened to real people, and for the most part, the quips are witty and smart. These often are the first things I read when I get a Readers Digest, and then I go back and read the articles that interest me. I have a feeling there are a lot of people that do this. They are great in the doctor’s office waiting room too, because you don’t have to stop in the middle of a long article when it is time for your appointment. If you just read the humor clips, you can easily put it down when it is time to go.

Don’t forget that Readers Digest will pay you for your own silly moments. The money they offer is not bad either. You don’t have to be a writer to submit your moments to them, you just have to be able to tell the story, and it does have to be funny. Readers Digest also accepts jokes to some degree, as long as they are funny, and are for the most part tasteful. If you have had something hilarious happen that you think many can relate to, submit to the magazine. You may see your story in print, and have a nice little check to go along with it.

Am I Really A Stroller-Monger?

Am I Really A Stroller-Monger?

I was reading "A Modern Infant Armada", a humor column in Maclean’s Magazine written by a fellow humor columnist. Writing about it now is a bit like a painter painting another painter or a singer singing about another singer (but it not like a cook cooking another cook.).
David Russell (yes, another humor columnist named David) laughs at his neighbor for parking both cars in the driveway to make room in the garage for four strollers for just one child. I laughed with him. Four strollers for just one baby is ridiculous, right?
However, David Russell becomes a parent himself, a condition that afflicts many unsuspecting homo sapiens, and he concludes that a call to his neighbor is warranted: "I need to see if he can help me get a fleet rate."
"Traitor!" I cried out. "Stroller monger!"
"Who’s a traitor?" my wife asked as she walked in the room. "And just what is a stroller monger."
I resisted the obvious answer – that a stroller monger is somebody who mongs strollers. "David Russell. He says that one stroller is enough for any child, but then he decides to buy an entire fleet."
"Say, we could have saved a bundle if we had applied for a fleet rate," my wife mused.
"What? We don’t have four strollers."
My wife smiled. It was a sweet smile you could just fall in love with…if you did not know that it meant, "Oh yes we do!"
"We do not."
"My wife took out her counting fingers. "First there is the car seat," she said, pressing down the first finger. "We snap it into the stroller base whenever we go anywhere."
"OK, that’s one."
"Then there is the SUV," she said, pressing down on a second finger. The "SUV" is a full sized stroller. We bought it when we were still squeezing it on a downtown apartment. With no storage space, it stood in the entrance area, blocking our path to the kitchen and any hope of escaping if the place caught fire. The SUV is the Hummer of strollers.
"OK, that is a stroller, I will grant you. But that’s just two."
"We also have the fold-up stroller," my wife said, pressing down a third finger.
"But she’s not even using it yet."
"She will soon and we have it now," my wife pointed out. "Then there is the old fold-up stroller we kept as a backup. That makes four."
"You can’t count duplicates. That’s double counting."
"It takes double the space," my wife insisted. "We have four strollers.
I stared in silence. Slowly it sunk in. Yes, there were two Davids who were humor columnists, but there were also two Davids who were stroller-mongers.
Uh-oh. My wife was smiling again. She was watched for just the right moment to strike. "Our baby has more seats in this house than anybody else has."
"That’s ridiculous." No sooner had the words left my mouth than I remembered the boomerang rule. Words like ridiculous, ludicrous, silly, stupid and big mouth usually apply only to the person who speaks them.
My wife rhymed off our seats, "Three on the couch, two chairs in the living room, six in the kitchen, one in the bathroom and one at each of our desks. Plus the three red chairs Little Lady has in the living room. That makes 17."
"Ha!" I knew it couldn’t be true.
Then came that deadly sweet smile again, the smile that said, "Take my hand while I lead you around the house to see why you should think first and shout ‘Aha!’ later."
In the kitchen stood the high chair and the sit-in play saucer. In her office sat the rocking chair that never rocked and the bouncy chair that never bounced. There was the swing seat, and there were two cushion seats for sitting upright on the floor. She opened the door to the enclosed porch, and there were the four strollers and the car seat she would soon be using.
"That makes 12," my wife tallied. "We each have fewer than six."
I thought really hard. "Aha!" I said again, proudly pointing out that this time I had thought first and shouted ‘Aha!’ later.. "We have three chairs on the balcony, and six on the patio. There are also six folding chairs for the fire pit."
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and there was no reason to forget all the outdoors furniture at a time like this. Unfortunately, there was no reason to forget arithmetic, either. Our baby still had the most seats in the house – and outside the house, too.
"Uh, do toilet seats count?"
My wife smiled her sweet smile again, a smile that could only mean, "So, stroller monger, what do you have to say for yourself now?"
I knew that another humor columnist named David had just been labeled a traitor. Meekly, I mumbled. "Lawn tractor seat?"

Speak With E’s Part 3

Speak With E’s Part 3

“Educate, Energize, Entertain, and provide an experience for your audience”
1. Use direct eye contact. You can focus on one person when making a point… and everyone else in the audience will think you are speaking to them, too.
2. Don’t just stand behind the lectern move around, gesture. Be animated. (Fifty-five percent of how people perceive you is by body language; 38 percent by your voice; 7 percent by your words.)
3. If you are telling a story, assume the posture of the character you are acting out. For example, if you are talking about babies then look like one and sound like one.
4. Humor helps. Humor especially if it is self-deprecating, often wins over an audience. Example: When president Kennedy was asked how he became a war hero, he responded, “It was involuntary. They sank my boat.”
5. When appropriate smile a lot. Be enthusiastic about what you are saying. Make it fun. Learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun your audience is having. Laughter is like internal jogging. Aren’t adults just grown up kids?
6. Use visual aids to increase audience retention of your message. But never become a master of ceremonies to your overheads. Toys create humor and playfulness.
7. Be creative. Include music, poetry, games, songs, dance, brainstorming, and role playing.
8. Dress appropriately. Always be a step above the audience. If it’s “business casual,” be a little dressier than casual. You are your best visual aid!
9. Have strong closing remarks that include a summary that reviews the main points. (People have short attention spans.) Or, make a statement or tell an anecdote. Call for action.
10. Start and stop on time. Be flexible and able to cut the talks short if asked. Be in control. Leave time for Q&A.
11. Use an evaluation form. This will provide you with feedback and confirm your value to the participant. Ask what they liked most and what they liked least about your presentation. Ask for referrals. You might ask the attendees who else they know who would benefit from your program.
12. Send a personalized thank-you note. Ask the program chair for a testimonial in writing.
13. Create “BOR” (back of the room) products. Sell your books, e-books, and booklet(s). Create audiotapes, videotapes, and CD-ROMs. Having products will catapult your speaking career and make you more valuable to your clients. This “passive” income is frosting on the cake.

Exercises and Other Tips for Group Presentations

Exercises and Other Tips for Group Presentations

The success of any group presentation relies not on individual performance but teamwork. Although each member of the group must work hard for his part, he must also be willing and capable of working together with his teammates to allow the group presentation to proceed smoothly.

Suggested Communication Exercises and Other Tips for Group Presentations

Delegate and assign.
In most cases, a group presentation requires every member to take part in the presentation itself. A leader should be unanimously chosen and he must consequently delegate the appropriate roles and duties for each member.

Create a timetable.
A deadline must set for every small goal for individual members and the entire team. The presentation must be complete at least one week before the group’s set to present. This will give them enough time to rehearse their presentation, focus on resolving technical flaws and perfect its execution.

Build harmony and rapport among members.
There are a lot of icebreaker games and communication exercises that will help members to get to know, be comfortable, and understand each other. Fostering and strengthening bonds among members is important because it will allow them to work together more effectively, making them able to identify and understand nonverbal cues coming from other members.

Eliminate stage fright.
Group members should be made comfortable early on with presenting in front of a crowd. You should start with a crowd filled with people your group members are all acquainted with and comfortable with. Gradually work your way to a crowd that’s set to challenge your group’s equilibrium on stage. In this case, make sure to coach them on what and what not to do.

Make them crack a joke.
It’s easier to anger a crowd and make them cry than elicit laughter from them. Humor however is one of the critical success factors for almost all presentations. Unless you’re very sure that humor would be frowned upon, it wouldn’t hurt to develop the team’s ability to incorporate humor with their presentation either deliberately or incidentally. Ask your members to crack a joke individually then as a group. Go over the script for your presentation and hold a brainstorm meeting to identify which parts would best benefit from a little humor.

Get rid of the script.
There will be times that things would veer away from the script. Your group should be ready for this. You can help by making them memorize first what they have to say then asking them later on to paraphrase everything with their own words. What’s important is ensuring that they understand what they’re talking about.

Get them ready to interact with the crowd.
Interaction with the crowd is required even if it’s not planned and there’s no formal Q&A portion scheduled for the group. That’s why it’s important to prepare them for this early on. Start by questioning them about the presentation one by one then as a group. Make sure you ask them a healthy mix of objective and subjective questions.

Practice the sequence of events.
Teach your members how to engage in small talk with the crowd to introduce or conclude their respective presentations. Teach them how to properly introduce the next speaker as well to ensure a smooth transition from one part of the presentation to another. Sequencing might have nothing to do with the actual content of the presentation but it’s often what distinguishes good presentations from the best!

How to be a Great Speaker Without Using PowerPoint

How to be a Great Speaker Without Using PowerPoint

RESEARCH YOUR AUDIENCE It amazes me how some speakers will show up for a speaking engagement and really not know anything about the audience they are speaking to. Many speakers just get lazy and feel that their message is so important that anyone would want to hear it. They couldn’t be more wrong. Your core message may be about the same for everyone, but knowing your audience will allow you to slant the information so that the audience feels it was prepared just for them. They will relate much better to the information and think much more highly of you for creating something specifically for them. Of course, in many cases you were only slanting your information, but I won’t tell if you won’t.

PRACTICE The only way to look polished while speaking is to practice. This is one skill you cannot delegate to anyone else. It is you that is on stage with the microphone and it is you who will look either great or terrible. You are sadly mistaken and egotistical if you think the PowerPoint slides that either you or someone else created will make you a dynamic speaker. There are specific techniques used to practice that don’t take much time and make you look extremely polished. One of these techniques is called bits. You practice a short piece of material over and over again. You don’t practice it word for word, but just talk your way through it. This way you won’t blank out when a distraction happens while you are on stage.

TAKE CARE OF HECKLERS The following is my famous asterisk technique; I use it to make sure hecklers don’t interrupt my presentation. I get people in the group to identify potential troublemakers BEFORE I get to the event. I phone these people and interview them to give them the attention they are craving. I then mention their names during the speech. This virtually eliminates the chance they will give me a hard time because I am praising one of their opinions. This works really well but don’t mention their names exclusively or the rest of the audience that knows these people are trouble may think that you are just as bad. Mention a wide variety of people in the audience. Just make sure the bad ones are included which normally keeps them at bay.

USE EMOTIONAL LANGUAGE Boring old facts rarely move people to action. Learning to use words that evoke emotions in people will make a much greater impact when you speak. There are many emotions you can trigger in the audience just by your choice of words. Happiness, anger, sadness, nostalgia are just a few. Knowing your purpose for being in front of the group helps you to pick which emotions you want to tap. When your purpose is known, choosing words to get the desired emotional response is much easier. For instance, if you wanted to take someone back to a childhood experience you might say, "Do you remember when someone did something bad at school and the teacher smacked the yardstick on her desk?" The word Phrase "smacked the yardstick" would evoke an emotional response that many adults can relate to. A younger group may not relate to this phrase since corporal punishment has all but disappeared from schools. You must pick the words that would mean something to your audience.

REVEAL YOURSELF Often people have trouble implementing this idea because they like to remain aloof and private. This will hurt their chances of making a good connection with people in the audience. You certainly don’t have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets when on stage, but you certainly could tell someone how much you like horses, or how you love to cook . . .anything that will give them a glimpse into the real you will give you a better chance of connecting with them and getting them to listen to you.

USE PROPS A prop is worth a thousand words. People can really anchor a thought in their minds when it is connected to an object that relates to the point you are trying to make. You could use large, small, funny or serious props. Always relate the prop to the point you are trying to make and make sure the audience can see it. Sometimes you’ll want to hide the prop so people don’t wonder what it is until you are ready to present it.

USE HUMOR Even Shakespeare used humor in the middle of the tragedies he wrote. Humor is a powerful and effective tool that gives the audience’s mind a chance to breath in the face of heavy material. It also makes you more likable and fun to listen to. Humor is also much more likely to make your information more memorable. You don’t have to be a stand up comedian to use humor in speeches and presentations, and you don’t have to tell jokes either. There are many ways to add humor that don’t require any skill at all. You can show funny visuals, tell stories, or read from books or periodicals. Just like with props, make sue your humor relates to the point you are trying to make and you will be much more successful. Each issue of "Great Speaking" has about 20 pieces of humor you can use during speeches.

MOVE ‘EM TO ACTION If you are going to bother taking up people’s time to speak to them, don’t you think it would be a good idea to get them to do something positive because of your presentation? Even if they do something negative, it’s still better than doing nothing because they will at least get a chance to learn something from their mistake. Regardless of the size of your ego, the reality is that you are there for them, not the other way around. I’m all for you building up your reputation, but if you go into your speech thinking it’s all for you, it will show and you probably won’t do as well as you would have had you concentrated on the needs of the audience more.

BRING SOLUTIONS One of the best ways to make sure the audience loves you is to bring solutions to their problems. If you have done a thorough job of researching your audience, you already know what their problems are. It’s your job to bring ideas for them to try. In modern day thinking this is what motivational speaking is all about. No longer is it good enough to get people all fired up where they are bouncing off the walls without a clue as to what they will do with this new found excitement and motivation. Modern professional motivational speakers bring solutions and a plan of action to achieve them. Now those are motivating.

PAY ATTENTION TO LOGISTICS The best preparation, practice, and audience research could be ruined if you forget to pay attention to all the details surrounding a presentation. You want to know what is happening before you speak, and what is happening after you speak: How are the people seated? Are they at round tables where half of them are facing away from you, or are there no tables at all? What kind of microphone is appropriate? How big is the screen in the room? Will the people be drinking alcohol? What is the lighting like? All these items and many more affect the overall effectiveness of a presentation. The same exact words delivered with significantly different logistics could be received in entirely different ways. You could even go from a fantastic evaluation to a bomb just because of the way people are seated. It’s up to you to know the differences and how they affect a presentation.

Ali G: Good, Bad, Or…

Ali G: Good, Bad, Or…

Ali G is becoming a name more and more people are aware of. Debuting in 1998, this is a fictional character that is comically portrayed in movies and shows on the cable network HBO. The character of Ali G is played by the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. The bold humor of this character is often controversial as it explores political arenas and often creates humor at the expense of identified groups including women, Jews, Gays, Christians, and Politicians. The character of Ali G is a gang member who resides with his grandmother in what can be referred to a ghetto area.

Ali G has gained notoriety in the music world as well. Featured as the limo driver in a Madonna video and recording an album with Shaggy exposed this character to a younger demographic. This fictional character was also the host of the 2001 European MTV award show. Many sports fans got a glimpse of Ali G during the ads he was in for the 2005/2006 season of the NBA.

With the recent release of the movie, Borat, the character of Ali G is finding himself in the fire of a heated debate among those who enjoy the humor of the character and those who feel this character has pushed the envelop far enough. Human rights groups are angry over the antics in this new film, believing they promote stereotyping and lead to labeling of groups.

In an interesting twist, many individuals who were interviewed for the mock documentary movie Borat are filing lawsuits. They claim their responses are being used in a different context than they were given, leading to their families, friends, and even employers viewing them as racists. The movie was released under 20th Century Fox, who comments that there is no foundation for anyone to file a claim, and that all participants in the film did so voluntarily.

The persona of Ali G continues to have many faces from providing humorous entertainment, exploring the music world, being a controversial figure, and being under fire from human rights activists and possible lawsuits. The future of this character should prove to be quite interesting for those who take the time to follow it.

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.