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That's No Joke

ego humor laughter storytelling Mar 29, 2023

In our pursuit to engage with purpose, to connect with others, to bridge the gap between audience and presenter, I’ve found the most powerful tool, the most effective equalizer, the best common denominator, is to incorporate a little positive humor, to use levity and joy to lift others up, and to always remember to…laugh with, not at.

I’ve been navigating this bridge between audience and presenter for over 27 years, and with the unifying gift of laughter at my disposal, it’s been an awesome responsibility to offer it, share it, and incorporate it wisely. Comedy, humor, levity, storytelling, parables, insights – when used with care and intention - can build rapport, earn connection, create trust. So now, our interactions, business meetings, presentations, can be an opportunity to allow us to put our guard down, see the humanity in others, make ourselves a bit more accessible, and bridge that gap.

As someone fascinated by the power of laughter, and with improvisation as a driving force in our curriculum when working with military units, corporations, and high performing organizations, I’ve never encountered an audience member, in their right mind, who wanted to be on the receiving end of an inappropriate joke. I’ve never met a client, in their right mind, who was looking forward to being shamed. I’ve never heard a staff member, in their right mind, wanting to be laughed at. Therefore, no leader, coach, educator, presenter, in our right minds, should prioritize a joke at someone else’s expense. If the joke is more important than other people remaining in their right mind, and feeling comfortable and safe, we’re bound to lose the audience, lose the connection, and lose the trust. Once that’s gone, it’s a tough road back.

The good news is, as presenters, there’s a safe and fun road ahead to get to a better place. Weaving in levity, finding the joy, and enjoying the laughter is right there for us, because these concepts are not exclusive to professional actors, stand-up comedians, epic storytellers, and jokesters. That’s a myth. These tools and techniques are available to all of us, can be activated by all of us, and most importantly - when embraced authentically and delivered with everyone’s best interests at heart - laughter is necessary for all of us. We bond when we hear a joke together, we connect when we experience the reveal together, we feel like part of a team when we hear a light, fun, honest story together, and we can better engage with purpose when we laugh with…together.

I’m proud to say this has been one of our core values at Game On for over 27 years. During this journey, I’ve seen first-hand how laughing with can be an incredibly powerful and unifying game-changer. Sadly, I can also say the same for the power of laughing at. As presenters, it’s important we set our ego aside, get real with one-another, and ask ourselves which way we are leading our audiences, our staff, our teams, our people. Are we laughing with or are we laughing at? It’s a serious question for all of us to explore, and that’s no joke.

Laugh With. Game On.

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