Imagine this. A surgeon is about to perform open-heart surgery. He looks down at the patient on the table and speaks: “This is a delicate surgery, Mr. Smith. It’s going to be painful, but I need you to hold very still for the next four or five hours.”
What’s wrong with this scene? No surgeon in his right mind would attempt such an operation without the patient being anesthetized. There would be just too many uncontrollable variables.
Yet, isn’t this the circumstance that meeting planners must accept all the time? Every meeting involves major unpredictables and uncontrollable. They’re called human participants. You can’t have a meeting without them.
And you want them to be alert and involved in the process. If they are asleep, chances are you’ve chosen the wrong speaker.
The only way to maintain “surgical” control of the meeting planning process would be to eliminate human participation. Tempting as that might be, it tends to discourage repeat business.
Given these conditions, how is a meeting planner to achieve excellence? I think the key is humor. Humor is energy strong enough to overcome great obstacles, a universal spirit that endures repeated frustration.
Unfortunately, when it comes to humor, we all make the same mistake. We think only of jokes and laughter. We trivialize this powerful resource, relegating it to the recreational realms of life and measuring its strength only by the laughs we provoke.
What a waste of a gift that has always served our species with remarkable effectiveness.
Current researchers have confirmed that humor can reduce stress, boost immunity, relieve pain, decrease anxiety, elevate mood, stabilize the brain, enhance communication, inspire creativity, maintain hope, and bolster morale.
Certainly, these are benefits that support excellence in all our endeavors. However, such rewards can be minimized and even missed if we do not know how to set the stage for expressing our humor nature.
Whether the goal is to successfully tell a joke or to maintain stability in the midst of chaos, you will always get the best your humor nature can produce if you remember ten simple principles or rules.
I learned these rules while becoming a comedy performer, but they apply to all aspects of life. The first four will help you develop an attitude that nourishes your humor nature.
The last six focus on your immediate environment to create an atmosphere for fun. If you practice all ten principles, the correct humor action will usually emerge effortlessly.