Humor as a Competitive Communications Weapon

This may sound crazy, but stand-up comedy has helped improve morale within my firm and win more clients in a very competitive environment.

Humor is a powerful differentiator in life. Think about it. You choose your friends, business buddies and significant other based upon how much you like them. So, it should come as no surprise that humor, when properly leveraged, can provide a communications firm with a distinct competitive advantage and boost in workplace morale.

I stumbled across this revelation five years ago while suffering through an endless PR industry awards dinner. I started a conversation with the guy next to me and, when the chatter turned to hobbies, was stunned to hear he performed stand-up comedy. How cool, I thought.

He provided me with the details and, within a short period of time, I was enrolled in an intense five-day training course at the New York-based American Comedy Institute. The course ended with a live performance at Manhattan’s Stand Up NY.

I became addicted to stand-up comedy and began to perform regularly. I even created a persona, the midlife crisis comic. As my performing matured, I noticed my business presentation techniques were subtly improving. I was becoming more attuned to reading nonverbal clues, filling uncomfortable conversation gaps and, critically, using comedy to create a more immediate rapport with clients and prospects.

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