Don Cooper is a fantastic speaker and wonderfully funny man. He recently was quoted in the National Speakers Association newsletter.

Check out this exerpt about the value of humorists:

“What’s a laugh worth?

Selling a topic like sales, marketing or customer service is relatively easy. Those subjects translate straight to the bottom line, so both corporate and association meeting planners instinctively recognize their value. Likewise topics such as leadership, team-building and time-management are readily valued.

But humor? All too often, it’s an afterthought for most meeting planners. “Why waste time on mindless entertainment when we can give our audience information they can really use?” is the unspoken question in the back of their minds.

Everyone knows that a meeting without humor is like a Twinkie without the cream filling. But meeting planners often don’t understand this. So you have to help them see the value of humor to their event. In other words, what a laugh is really worth. There are three keys to accomplishing this.

First, you need to fully understand and be able to articulate the benefits of a humorous presentation. It’s not merely a matter of entertainment. Humor can:

Lighten the mood of an event
Put people in a receptive state of mind
Reduce stress and tension
Increase attendees’ energy, alertness and enthusiasm
Create camaraderie
Lower the audience’s defenses
Generate goodwill toward the organization
Communicate or reinforce an organization’s message
Bridge gaps between management and employees
Leave the audience with lasting positive memories”

Don… you rock! Thanks for the great info.

My pal Tim Gard just submitted this to a newsletter! Great job Tim.

(The following is an excerpt from an aricle in the NSA Humor Peg newsletter.

So how do you sell the value of humor to a client? Why would someone pay for a humorist vs. a content speaker?

“I (Tim Gard) wrote an article a couple of years ago about the difference between an entertainer and a speaker. The first thing you have to have in mind is which of those you are going to be. Either one is okay, you just need to pick one and go with it. When people contact me, it is not necessarily to have me be a humorist. I’m contacted when they need someone to kill at 7am, or close out a conference on a high note. Most businesses that hire me want take-home value, very clean humor, and they want their folks to be energized. The bottom line is you have to find what the audience’s pain is and how to solve it with humor. ”

Nicely said Tim!

Do YOU think humor has a place in business? I sure do. Check out this excerpt form a humor newsletter from Humorist Roz Trieber.

“Research demonstrates there is a significant correlation between humor and leadership effectiveness (Priest and Swain, 2002). Organizational culture, in the military and elsewhere, supports the use of humor by leaders in appropriate ways. The United States Army leadership manual describes, “Having a good sense of humor” as a valuable character trait for leaders (Department of Army, 1983). It was found that cadets at the United States Military Academy who use humor as a coping strategy were less likely to quit or make mistakes. In addition, humor employed by managers and leaders achieve three specific ends: 1) stress reduction in the workplace, 2) helping employees understand management concerns by enhancing communication patterns, and 3) motivating followers (Davis and Kleiner, 1989). Good leaders who use good-natured jest put others at ease. Those who cannot laugh or joke about their imperfections or personal failings are correlated with other characteristics of “bad leaders,” A majority of good leaders are shown to have quick wit, see the point of jokes, maintain group morale through extraverted humor vs. mean spirited humor, have infectious laughs, and tell humorous satires in dialect (Priest and Swain, 2002).

What this really means is that there is improved communication with less misunderstanding, and increased desire to come to work, and an increase in creativity and productivity (Decker and Rotondo, 2001). In summary, humor in the workplace promotes physical and mental health, fosters mental flexibility, and acts as a social lubricant (Morreall, 1983). ”

Thanks Roz. Awesome Work.

This is a note I received from a pal and High School Teacher, Lindsey Pahs….who happens to be a very funny person. I used to think he was an expert at humor by accident. But check out this note that proves him to be way deeper than I thought. :) And his point is right on. Check it out….

“I have thought a little about it though. Here’s what I think. Being funny (at home or work) isn’t as much about telling the joke or making the wise-crack as it is about the attitude. In order to be funny, you have to have the certain outlook on life. Try to look at things from a different perspective than you normally do. Sometimes that’s funny. Think about what would happen if you took something to the exteme–sometimes the result is funny. You have to be willing to break out of the mold. Flower pots aren’t funny. . . a flower pot on your head is funny. If you do something different or look at things from a different point of view, the results are sometimes funny. I think this is why it’s hard for me to think of funny things–it’s not really the thing that’s funny; it’s the way you approach the thing. ”

How come none of MY teachers were this clued into humor? Thanks Lindsey.

I’m on the plane coming home from a date with the ID Potato Shipper Growers Association. (Yup, potato industry folks really needed a humorist motivational speaker… their industry is going through some HUGE changes.)

I loved the date… the folks were nice. The potato humor was fast and furious (no… I’m not kidding… potato humor) and if you go by the comments the audience (and my meeting planner) gave me after the talk, the message was well-received.

But by far the best part was making a difference for the victims of hurricane Katrina.

I often sell books, tapes and other products after my programs. But I had no plans to do so at this event. But, at the last minute I grabbed as many copies of my book, Humor Me: America’s Funniest Humorists on the Power of Laughter and shoved ’em in my bag.

I told the audience this: ” The books list at $16.95. I usually sell them for $15. Tonight they are $20… and I’ll tell ya why. Tonight we are gonna sell out and give ALL of the money to the Red Cross for the hurricane.

My 19 books should have earned $380. (I’m tellin’ ya… that’s all I could fit in my bag!) But because these big-hearted people were so generous — and because they kept re-selling the last 2 books over and over and over again— we made $609 in 12 minutes. That can buy a bunch of potatoes for the folks who need them most.

I’m humbled and flattered. Last night we proved that humor can make a difference.

Humor and Grief & Loss

I just returned from a funeral where I experienced first hand how even a tiny dose of humor can make a huge step towards healing and health. Smiles and laughter CAN make things better.

During the funeral service for a wonderful woman who died WAY too early. The entire “audience” of 300 found themselves somewhere between sadness and total utter sobbing. (Me… I was balling.)

When the son of the woman who died spoke about his mom he made a joke. Not a huge joke. Just a small joke about his brother in law. And in a snap he flipped this audience from crying to laughing. He popped the stress balloon. With this tiny bit of humor he gave us a a much needed break from our grief. It was such a small gesture with a huge impact. What a gift. (And on a personal note I was amazed that he could be so generous in the face of his personal loss. It was wonderful.)

But it was later that night that humor delivered even more healing. We sat together and shared pasta and more wine than we probably should have. The stories about the mom — the woman we buried that day — flowed…. and flowed. Laughter and smiles were way more prevalent than tears. Yup, the tears were still there. But the laughter helped us all manage them.

I have no idea what time will bring… but I’m certain that liberal doses of humor and gladness will help us get through such sad and difficult times. Humor cannot erase our grief… it can’t make things “All Better” like our mommies did when we were little kids. But encouraging and welcoming humor into our lives will help us to at least begin to heal.

Now pass the wine.

Yesterday I was in the Salt Lake City airport going to a job in Sun Valley, ID when I stopped into Starbucks. I was chatting with the woman behind the counter. She was just a fun person with a big smile.

When she gave me BACK my credit card she held it out for me to take back. But here was the great part: when I grabbed it she didn’t let go. I pulled, but she hung on.

I looked up and met her eyes, and bingo; a huge smile was on her face.

She was doing it. She was using this tiny bit of humor on the job to help her do more than survive…. it helped her thrive. Humor in the workplace? You bet! She proved that adding (or creating) a smile or two here and there can change your day. And if you string enough of those days together….

Comedian magician (and pal) Michael C. Anthony just did something very cool. As he was on the road working for a college in Mississippi where after the show he went to visit three different shelters for those who lost everything during the hurricane.

Michael took it upon himself to do some magic for the folks in the shelter. I loved it! Not only did he go visit, but he shared the skill he has taken years to hone and shared it with those needing it most. He told me that the folks were bored stiff and probably would have reacted to nearly anything. But I know Michael, and he is a one of the nations most professional magicians… and so I know that he shared something really special.

Way to go dude! Way to share the laughter, the humor… and the magic!

click out my work as a corporate comedian magician

Dateline: Ft. Collins, Colorado I just got back from Colorado’s premier magicians convention called Magic in the Rockies. What a blast. Colorado magicians converge on three days of tricks, lectures, and laughter. A couple of my favorites were comedians (yup, you can be a comedian AND a magician) Dana Daniels and comedian magician Michael Finney. They were hilarious, honed, and clean.

One interesting note was that Michael Finney received a rare standing ovation from the magicians…. for not doing a trick. He did a long set of stand up comedy and KILLED! Even magicians were amazed — and laughing ’till their faces hurt — by this corporate comedian.

The best part of the convention for me was that it rejuvenated my love for all things magical and magic. I’ve been so involved with the comedian portion of my speaker job that I’ve taken the magician part of me for granted. No more…. welcome back Magic Boy!

Check out all the info about my work as a corporate magician here.

Not at my house. But recenlty I learned that the spoken word CAN be “Family Friendly!”

When I was younger (and not yet a motivational speaker– heck, I wasn’t even a fireman which was my first goal) I spent a great deal of time in a little house in Silver Plume, Colorado. There was no T.V. up there to distract me and my sister and brother. Instead, we found entertainment in four or five Bill Cosby comedy albums my mom and dad bought. We laughed tons and tons as we listened to the albums over and over again. We could have recited the entire albums– and probably did.

Years later, to my delight, my dad gave me the very albums that had been such an escape many years ago. After some trial and error, I finally figured out how to hook up the record player to my computer and copy these albums onto CD so they would last — with the same scratches and grooves for many, many years to come.

The best surprise I got out of doing this though was that my kids love these comedy albums just as much as I did as a kid. We can listen to it together and they love it! I love the comedy recordings now as much as ever for three reasons. 1. They are old friends and listening to them is like a hug from a friend you thought you lost. 2. They are hilarious! Cosby’s stuff really holds up. And 3. It’s a hoot to listen to them with my kids. It is really special to be able to share humor like this across the generations.

Even after all the years of being a comedian, I never thought it was truly possible to have family-appropriate humor that would really be enjoyed by everyone. Of course I had done many shows aimed toward the family that included magic, but Cosby serves as such a great example of how the spoken word alone can be very funny to audiences of all ages without being inappropriate. (Can you imagine encouraging your six year old kid to listen to Chris Rock?) Family Friendly comedy? How Cool is That?!

[Yup… I have a family friendly corporate comedian and magician show too! Learn more here.)