How to Use Humor to Increase Sales

How to Use Humor to Increase Sales

Using cartoons can help brand your marketing and drive home important messages. Although surprisingly inexpensive to acquire, humor can be one of your most powerful marketing tools.
Humor puts your readers at ease. Readers appreciate a touch of humor in an otherwise overly serious world.
Humor operates on an emotional level, driving home your message in a far more memorable way than words alone. Humor makes sensitive topics more approachable while summarizing and reinforcing points that would otherwise be lost.
Different types of humor work best in different contexts. Many speakers begin with a joke to put the audience at ease, or a story about ‘a funny thing that happened on the way to the meeting.’
But jokes and stories are less appropriate for written communications. Jokes can be misinterpreted and depend on delivery and timing for their effectiveness. Stories can take too long to tell.
Cartoons are perfect for print communications. Readers who typically check them out before reading the adjacent articles appreciate cartoons.
More important, cartoons communicate at a glance. A cartoon can attract your reader’s attention and drive home an important point in a memorable way.
The editorial page of any newspaper shows how effective humor can be in simplifying complex subjects and driving home a point of view.
Humor also adds a visual dimension to your marketing, differentiating your message from your competitor’s. Cartoons encourage readers to look at topics they might otherwise skip.
Where do you get cartoons? One of the best sources is the Cartoon Bank, www.cartoonbank.com. Here, you can license reproduction rights to cartoons that originally appeared in the New Yorker Magazine.
You can select from tens of thousands of cartoons. You can search by topic or keyword. After choosing an appropriate cartoon, you can find out how much it will cost to license it, and then you can download it.
Licensing fees are surprisingly reasonable for most business applications. For example, you can license New Yorker cartoons for use in presentations for just $19.95! For other purposes, the cost depends on where you’re going to use it and how many people will see it.
There are, of course, other sources of cartoons. If you see a cartoon you like in a newspaper or magazine, write the cartoonist in care of the publication and ask about availability and pricing. If there is a particular cartoonist whose style you like, contact the cartoonist about a custom cartoon.
This has worked very well for me and I owned total rights to use the cartoon any way I wanted.
Cartoons are great for the home page of your website, newsletters, training materials and presentation visuals.
In each case, the unexpectedness of a cartoon immediately captures your audience or reader’s attention and visually reinforces your message.
Here are some suggestions for marketing with cartoons:
1. When in doubt, leave it out. If the cartoon does not perfectly support your point, leave it out.
2. Always add the copyright information described in the licensing agreement.
3. Never run a cartoon without first obtaining a license to reproduce it.
4. Optimization. After downloading, resize and sharpen the cartoon in an image-editing program like Photoshop and export it in the proper file format.
Using humor in the form of cartoons is a powerful way to brand your marketing and drive home important messages to your prospects and clients.

Why We Laugh!

Why We Laugh!

Why do we laugh? Is it a silly pun, riddles, amusing stories, anecdotes, funny one liners, silly quotes, hilarious jokes, dirty jokes, clean jokes, a commentary on world politics?
Maybe it’s the comic who jokes about his funny experiences as a child or the comic who amuses you with his raunchy x-rated humor. Or is it the slapstick of some up and coming comic who tickles your funny bone. Maybe it’s the dry wit of a political humorist or the silly antics of a young entertainer. According to leading psychologist people usually respond with laughter to anything that disrupts their comfort zone. Most successful humorist know this and use this fact to strike a chord with their audience.
Leading psychologist also further explain laughter is a product of evolution. We laugh to release hidden fears, a rise in tension. Laughter is a pressure release valve. Accordingly, laughter is a natural tool to protect ourselves against uncomfortable emotions. Remember an uncomfortable situation where the tension was so thick you could slice a knife with it. Soon the sound of laughter released the heavy situation and lightened the load tremendously.
Think about very young toddlers. What makes them laugh? Anything that surprises. A funny sound. A funny face. And they giggle like crazy.
When we are pre-teens we find puns, riddles, silly jokes about school, teachers, friends, very amusing.
Teens find jokes about the opposite sex, authority figures, or anything parents would find offensive very funny.
When we mature into our twenties and thirties our sense of humor matures. We develop a more sophisticated intellectual humor. Funny stories amuse us or stories with a twist or double meaning.
When we mature beyond our forties our sense of humor is more about the life experiences we share, about culture, and community. And consequently it will take sophistication plus matured intelligence to understand the deeper meaning of humor at this stage.
At this stage many people might find your political jokes, world affairs jokes, or the joke on the decline in morality strikingly humorous. Where as a teen or individuals in their twenties would fail to comprehend your humor.
Perhaps the most encouraging thing about laughter or humor is that it is contagious. Start your day with a smile and a good dose of humor. Share it with those around you!
(C)2004 – FreeCoolJokes Group

It’s Not Funny Unless it Sells

It’s Not Funny Unless it Sells

We’ve all encountered humor in advertising. TV ads showing smart dogs fetching their owners a beer. Radio spots with aliens purifying our drinking water. Print ads with famous people wearing milk mustaches. Many use dry wit. Others are just plain silly. A few are in bad taste. And some, heaven forbid, aren’t even funny.

<b>Humor has its place</b>

Does humor really work in advertising? Is it okay to get a few laughs when talking about your product or service? Does humor sell? There are no absolutes, no easy answers. What we do know is that, as in real life, humor has its place. In advertising, that place must always be clearly defined and understood. For humor used indiscriminately can be a disaster—for your product, your image and your sales. And that’s not funny.

<b>Making human contact</b>

The object of humor is to make human contact and break the boredom barrier. This invisible barrier goes up the second your audience is exposed to any advertising. It’s the result of tens of thousands of ads that confront us every year. For the human brain, it’s a matter of survival. It simply shuts out what it sees or hears and says, “I know a sales pitch is coming, I’ve been bored to death before, I’m tuning out.” Humor is one way to get through. Used correctly, humor leads your audience to a common ground of understanding. A feeling of "we’re all in this together." Just like a speaker who starts with a humorous anecdote to ‘break the ice,’ using a funny situation or character can make your audience more receptive as you segue into your selling message.

<b>Tread lightly and cautiously</b>

By the same token, an off-color joke or inappropriate comment about the audience or any individual member can be an instant turnoff and shoot that barrier right back up—maybe even permanently. The same holds true for humor that leaves a negative impression about your product or service. I remember hearing about one ad for a burial service with the headline: “We’re the last ones to let you down.” Sales didn’t exactly jump through the roof. Most professional comedians know that the best humor is broad and even handed, reflecting universal truths or situations that apply to us all. They set up a character we can all identify with, then put that character through actions we may have experienced. A comedian once gave me an example of what’s funny and what isn’t. "A guy slipping on a banana peel isn’t funny. A guy trying not to slip on a banana peel, now that can be funny.”

<b>It’s not easy being funny, especially in print</b>

Being funny in TV or even radio isn’t easy, but it’s even harder in print. There’s no motion, no special effects, no silly animal tricks or goofy character antics—just a static visual and headline. Print is one medium where creative writers really have to work hard for the right result: humor that sells. For, in just one snapshot, you’ve got to establish the character, set up the situation, and payoff the punch line. It’s like a comic strip with only one frame. It can be done, but it’s not easy. And once you’ve broken the boredom barrier, there’s still lots of work to be done.

<b>Once the laughing stops, there’s still that pesky product to sell</b>

Too many advertisers forget that the object of any ad, funny or not, is to get people to try the product being advertised. It’s okay for your audience to respond with, ”That’s a funny ad" as long as they also come away with, "That’s a great product!" Humor should accent or showcase your product’s identity or key features, not bury them in a laugh. Some really funny ads suffer from "generic identity." Your audience loves the ad, but confuses your product with your competitor’s. Not funny.

One final thing to keep in mind about humor: it’s not for amateurs. As any professional comedian will tell you, being funny is serious business. So even if you fancy yourself a master joke teller and life of the party, you should still leave creating funny ads to the pros.

Humor To Relieve Stress

Humor To Relieve Stress

There is no doubt that people are more stressed than ever before. While a lot of people think of it as an inconvenience or a minor irritation, the truth is that stress has a negative impact on your overall health. The good news is that you can use humor to relieve stress. It has long been said that laughter is the best medicine, and now there appears to be scientific proof to support that idea.

People used to think that stress was purely mental, and that it only had a negative impact on the mind. Any symptoms one had from stress were "all in the head". However, new research has shown that stress may actually change the body’s cells, and it’s this change that leads to physical side effects. In other words, stress and its harmful effects are very real.

Using humor to relieve stress is one of the most enjoyable ways of improving your health. You can start exercising your "laughter muscle" right away. Imagine there is a string attached to each corner of your mouth. Now imagine the strings being gently lifted upward until a smile has formed. Go ahead…give it a try.

Did you do it? No? Well, what are you waiting for? Smile! Don’t worry about what anything else thinks, just smile. It doesn’t matter if it’s big or small, as long as it’s a smile. Excellent! You’re off to a good start.

You can purposely try to seek out the things that make you laugh, such as television shows (yes, it’s okay to watch TV), comedy routines, funny books, comics, and so on. It doesn’t matter if anybody else thinks it’s funny; humor is subjective. Heck, being the only one who gets a joke can be a funny thing, too. Anything that makes you laugh is fair game.

Starting your own humor file is a great way to use humor to relieve stress. Any time you find something that makes you laugh, put it in your humor file. If it’s a line from a movie, then write it down and add it to your file. Again, this is all about the things that you find humorous, so don’t worry about what others think (besides, who needs that kind of stress anyway).

All of the things we have mentioned so far are external sources of humor, and they do help, but you should also develop an internal sense of stress-relieving humor. Okay, that’s just a fancy way of saying "try to see the humor in everyday things." Life is funny. If you can find humor in the "bad things" and are able to laugh at yourself in a healthy way, then you will start to feel the tensions of daily life start to melt away. Using humor to relieve stress won’t only put you in a better mood, but it will also help to improve your overall health, and that is something worth smiling about.

How To Use Humor To Relieve Stress

How To Use Humor To Relieve Stress

Stress is a big killer today. It’s a suffering that cannot be escaped at the best of times though there is a remedy for it – humor. If you know how to use humor to relieve stress, your life can feel a whole lot more rewarding.

The power of a laugh can relieve stress and has been medically proven to help medical patients. Humor for all its sarcastic and jovial edges has been viewed as a discovery in the world of health treatment. Think about the last time that you laughed and almost split your sides. Humor used properly can help remove stress and unhappiness from the workplace or the home.

There are various methods. Look over the cartoons in newspapers and on television. Watch your favorite TV comedy particularly episodes on DVD or HD that you love as it tickles you silly. Satire can be very rewarding in this way. Comedy brightens up your day. For me, all I need to do is watch an episode of Friends or Red Dwarf and any stress is flushed away as I became elated from the joy of laughter.

Humor is vital to your general well being as a smile leads to laughter and that in turn promotes an inner peace within yourself. Using humor to relieve stress is as effective as your daily vitamins to maintain a healthy body. In the workplace, suggestions include a joke calendar and best joke of the day. As this instills happiness, the off-shoot of the activity results in boosted morale amoungst employees.

Now, I am not saying that humor should replace your local therapist but what I am saying is that humor will assist you in staying happy and healthy. Humor is a refreshing chocolate ice cream for the soul. Don’t treat it as something degrading or insulting.

Many feel humor is a threat particularly where an embarrassing story may emerge. It feels then that the story is promoting laughter within a group at your expense. It’s best not to view it that way unless it’s an attempt to actually undermine you in some way. Banter can be a funny event if it’s between friends whom understand each other and can share the experience of that particular story. You can be sure that someone else has an embarrassing tale to tell.

Do you have photographs of past events such as a holiday with friends and family? There will be some captured moments within those photos that will ignite your memory of that event. It may be photos of a fancy dress party or a stag night. There must be a bunch of outrageously funny moments in those memories to discuss with your friends.

Using Humor to relieve stress is about connecting yourself with a happier place. It’s important to harness the power of humor to make light of any stressful events and brush it to one side. It works in sickness and in health.

You Love Them Because They’re Funny!

You Love Them Because They’re Funny!

For years I heard woman after woman say after obviously falling in love, "He’s so funny! I just love that about him."

Often after someone has lost a family member, they’ll say "I’ll always remember her smile, the way she laughed, the little jokes she would tell to lighten the mood."

Could it be we love people who have a great sense of humor? I’ve always thought so. And now we have scientific proof of what many of us long suspected. Humor is one of the things we enjoy most about life and, frequently, the people we love are the ones who make us smile.

Fortunately for those of us who probably aren’t that funny, humor is most often in the eye of the beholder. The guys at work may not laugh at your wise cracks, but if SHE laughs, well that’s all that matters.

For a long time, nobody in the scientific world knew much about humor. But during the past 20 years, more and more research has been done. We know what parts of our brains deal with humor. We also know when a baby starts to develop a sense of humor.

So don’t hesitate. Let your funny bone show through!

* When you think something is funny, don’t be afraid to let it out. Just think first if your remark might be taken the wrong way by those in earshot. Humor is great — foot-in-mouth is less great.

* Use humor to ease uncomfortable situations. When the mood starts to get tense, an appropriate chuckle and humorous side remark can get everyone back on track.

* If you’re not naturally funny, read cartoons, joke books, the laugh lines at the back of Reader’s Digest, and pay attention to how script writers set up funny situations on TV. You CAN learn to be more humorous than you are. Pay attention to humor and your sense of humor will develop.

Above all else, be someone who APPRECIATES humor. Try not to make someone feel bad when you don’t find their attempt at humor to be all that funny. As long as the humor isn’t in grossly poor taste, give your humorist a smile. And be one who isn’t afraid to chortle and guffaw when someone really pushes your funny button. A good laugh can be the best medicine you’ve had all day.

Spiritual Side of Humor

Spiritual Side of Humor

The use of the two primary tools of witnessing and sharing, discussed in a previous article, is closely tied to one of our most precious commodities: a sense of humor. What is the quality we call a sense of humor and why is it so highly valued? Understanding the answer to that question will raise the level of desirability on those two fundamental tools and will hopefully make us want to cultivate them more completely.
Remember that witnessing is observation or awareness plus equanimity or acceptance. Sharing is openness or willingness to connect plus honesty. In observing what we call a sense of humor, we see that humor requires perspective. To be able to laugh at a condition or a situation, one must have sufficient distance from it. If we’re too strongly identified to a thing, our emotional reaction to it will lack detachment, and we won’t be able to laugh at it. It’s only when we step away from identification with a thing and communicate either its inner workings or our own workings that humor arises. In other words, it’s only when we witness something, somebody, or ourselves, and share our observations that we are exhibiting a sense of humor. We see what is, we maintain adequate distance so as not to judge it, and we report our findings. Think of the episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry spends the entire show trying to remember his new girlfriend’s name. It’s stressful to him because he’s in the situation, but to us it’s hysterical. The quicker we can accomplish an attitude of detachment, the quicker we can find humor in the circumstances of our lives. You’ve heard people say, “Someday we’ll look back at this and laugh.”
I say, “Why wait?”
Total honesty + total acceptance = Humor
Certainly, much humor seems to be laced with judgment, but if we look more deeply, we’ll find that there’s compassion and love behind the judgment. Perhaps the individual evoking the laugh is using judgment, but we’re laughing because of our delight with that person’s way of sharing. In other words, we’re creating humor together. They’re supplying the honesty and we’re supplying the acceptance. Both of these need to be present for humor to exist, and each of these is a component of the tools we use for making connections with others. Humor embraces rather than rejects life’s ironies, allowing us to celebrate our flawed humanity.
Humor is one of the highest forms of communication, more capable than any other form of communication of eliciting states of delight and ecstasy, putting both the giver and receiver in touch with the divine within. Take the time to find the humor in your everyday life. You’ll be elevating your consciousness and that of others.

Five Ways to Sharpen Your Sense of Humor and Improve Your Relationships

Five Ways to Sharpen Your Sense of Humor and Improve Your Relationships

Humor has long been considered one of the most effective tools to judge the quality of any relationship. If there is laughter present you can be sure the relationship is a healthy one. When the laughter ceases the relationship is on the down slide. If you want to have more fulfilling relationships you might want to consider sharpening your sense of humor as a great place to start.
Here are five ways to improve your sense of humor and improve your relationships in the process.
1. Begin to cultivate an atmosphere of humor and laughter in your relationships by focussing on the funny things in life and enjoying the laughter they evoke. Soon you will be seeing humor all over and enjoying it fully.
2. If you don ’t laugh as much as you used to and want to correct the situation start associating with humorous, fun loving people and avoid the downers.
3. Learn to laugh at yourself. If you don’t you leave the job to others. So many people are unable to laugh at themselves because of their own insecurities and fears. We are afraid to look foolish in the eyes of others and appear to be incompetent. It is important to realize that we all make mistakes and when we do a good laugh makes the mistake seem trivial and human.
4. Collect cartoons and jokes and put them on display on the fridge or the bulletin board for all to see and enjoy. Make sure to avoid racist, sexist or filthy humor. There is plenty of good clean humor to go around without resorting to these. Remember that there is a difference between dirty and earthy humor. I personally like earthy humor. I don’t appreciate dirty material.
5. Use humor to neutralize conflict in your relationships. When things get tense use self deprecating humor to lighten things up. I remember one evening having an argument with my wife, Carol. In the heat of the moment she said something totally out of character. She said something hurtful. In my surprise I looked at her and said, “ Carol, when you say things like that you stoop to my level.” She started to laugh and so did I. It wasn’t long before things were back to normal.
Remember that a sense of humor is learned, not inherited. You can sharpen your sense of humor if you really want to. When you do, you will find that your relationships become richer and more rewarding and that people find you more attractive and fun to be with. This alone makes improving your sense of humor worth the effort.

Incorporate Humor in Your Next Speech

Incorporate Humor in Your Next Speech

Some speakers say, “I could never use humor in my speech; I just don’t feel comfortable with it.” I believe that anyone can use humor and that it is a valuable tool in speaking. Appropriate humor relaxes an audience and makes it feel more comfortable with you as the speaker; humor can bring attention to the point you are making; and humor will help the audience better remember your point. It can break down barriers so that the audience is more receptive to your ideas.
First, let me make it easy for you to use humor. The best and most comfortable place to find humor for a speech is from your own personal experience. Think back on an embarrassing moment that you might have thought not funny at the time. Now that you can laugh at the experience, you understand the old adage "Humor is simply tragedy separated by time and space." Or think of a conversation that was funny. Remember the punch line and use it in your speech. Probably the least risky use of humor is a cartoon. The cartoon is separate from you and if people don’t laugh, you don’t feel responsible. (Be sure to secure permission to use it.) You’re not trying to be a comedian; you just want to make it easy for people to pay attention and to help them remember your point.
Here are some suggestions on using humor to make your next speech have more impact.
1. Make sure the humor is funny to you. If you don’t laugh or smile at the cartoon, joke, pun, one-liner, story, or other forms of humor, then you certainly cannot expect an audience to do so. A key to using humor is only using humor that makes you laugh or smile.
2. Before using humor in your speech, try it out with small groups of people. Do they seem to enjoy it? Even if your experimental group does not laugh or smile initially, don’t give up on the humor, because the problem might be in the way you are delivering the joke or quip. I often use this line in talking about the importance of listening. “We are geared to a talk society. Someone said, ‘The only reason we listen is so we can talk next!’” When I first tried that line, people did not smile; but I worked on the timing so that I paused and smiled after “listen” and that seemed to work. I was rushing through the punch line and did not give people time to be prepared for the humorous part. It took practice to get comfortable with the piece of humor. Only use humor in a speech after you are comfortable telling it from memory and have tested it.
3. Make sure the humor relates to the point you are making. Do not use humor that is simply there to make the audience laugh. The humor should tie in with some aspect of your speech. For example, I tell about my experience of getting braces at age 46 and how difficult it was for me to get used to the wires and rubber bands in my mouth. After I tell the story I make the point that you may have not had the braces problem I had, but we all have challenges in communicating well, and what we want to look at today are ways of making it easier for us to be more effective in speaking. The audience enjoys the story but also remembers the point that I’m making. If you don’t tie your humor to your presentation, the audience may like the humor, but will wonder what point you are attempting to make.
4. Begin with something short. A starting point might be to summarize a cartoon and give the caption as your humor. A thought-provoking yet clever line about a point you are making is another way to get started. For example, when I talk about creativity and getting out of your comfort zone, a line I found that worked well was, “Orville Wright did not have a pilot’s license.” In your reading, look for lines that make you smile; consider how they might be used in your next speech. Be careful about launching into a long humorous story–audiences are quick to forgive a single line that may not be funny, but they do not have much patience with a long anecdote that isn’t worth the time. So start out with brief bits of humor.
5. When possible, choose humor that comes from people you interact with. You do not have to worry about people having heard it before, and you will feel more comfortable with what has happened to you. Find such experiences by looking for a humorous line or situation. For example, I was making a bank deposit recently at a drive-in window. When I asked to make a second deposit, the teller said solemnly, “I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to go around the bank a second time to make a second deposit.” We both laughed and I may have a line to work into a speech. If you have small children, listen for something they say that might be funny to an audience as well. Art Linkletter made a great living on the notion that “Kids say the darndest things.”
6. Don’t preview by saying, “Let me tell you a funny story.” Let the audience decide for themselves. Look pleasant and smile as you launch into your funny line, but if no one smiles or laughs then just move on as though you meant for it to be serious. This approach takes the pressure off as you relate the humor. Remember you are not a comedian entertaining the audience; you are a serious speaker seeking to help the audience remember and pay attention by using humor as a tool.
Humor is simply another way of making a point with your audience, and it can help you be a more effective speaker. Look at humor as a tool in improving your speech in the manner of attention devices, smooth transitions, and solid structure. Remember, “A smile is a curve that straightens out a lot of things.”

Increasing Persuasion With Humor

Increasing Persuasion With Humor

Many people take for granted the powerful persuading influence of humor. Humor is often tossed off as sheer entertainment or mere speech filler. The truth is, when you engage an audience with humor, you are accomplishing much more than just getting a laugh out of them.

Humor disarms an audience, making them more likely to open up to you. Once your prospects feel comfortable with you, they will be more in tune to your message and more likely to remain attentive. Audience members usually like and are drawn to a person who can make them laugh, helping them become more receptive. And perhaps most powerful of all, in our fast-paced culture where most things are fleeting, they remember you and continue to hold you in a positive light long after the initial exchange. When you leverage the element of humor, any message coming from you receives more weight than one that comes from someone who has not created the audience rapport you have achieved. All people’s minds wander from time to time. Humor not only reels them back in but it also reenergizes their soul.

“It has always surprised me how little attention philosophers have paid to humor since it is a more significant process of mind than reason. Reason can only sort out perceptions, but the humor process is involved in changing them.” – Edward de Bono

The use of humor can divert your audience’s attention from negative thoughts or it can counter an argument that is playing in their minds. Humor can also distract your audience’s tendency to overanalyze your message. Humor can even win over and disarm your audience. Herbert Gardner said, “Once you’ve got people laughing, they’re listening and you can tell them almost anything.” Understand that you can have a serious message without having to make the entire presentation serious. People hope and expect to be entertained while they listen. If they are not listening, they are not going to be persuaded. Your audience, be it comprised of one or one hundred individuals, will appreciate a moment to smile or laugh in this serious world they live in.

The actor John Cleese once said, “If I can get you to laugh with me, you like me better, which makes you more open to my ideas. And if I can persuade you to laugh at the particular point I make, by laughing at it you acknowledge its truth.” Understanding the value of humor in a persuasive context gives you tremendous leverage. Your task is to not only realize humor’s profound influence but also to develop the skills necessary to be able to use humor in a powerful and ethical way. As you become more and more skilled at incorporating it into your presentations, you will discover that humor almost always has a place. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to an audience of two hundred people or you’re having an intimate discussion with your spouse. It matters not if you’re seeking to sway the favor of corporate executives or trying to convince your well-meaning but shortsighted teenager. Consider the following uses of humor in everyday situations, for groups or an individual, in formal or informal situations.

Humor During Your Presentation…
• Eases Emotional Pain
• Creates a Positive Environment
• Generates Interest in What You Are Saying
• Helps Your Listeners Sense Your Goodwill
• Increases Participation

Humor Will Help Your Message…
• Reveal Important Truths
• Become More Memorable
• Make Difficult Topics More Accessible
• Bring Needed Entertainment
• Strike an Emotional Chord

Humor Will Help You Do the Following with Your Audience…
• Ease Their Tensions
• Put Them in a Good Mood
• Disarm Them
• Maintain Their Attention
• Enhance Their Receptivity

Humor Will Help You…
• Increase Your Likeability
• Establish Rapport
• Increase People’s Trust in You
• Enhance Your Image
• Strengthen Your Relationships
• Boost Your Own Confidence