Humor and business

Elefanten in mitten zerbrochenen GeschirrsIt’s amazing, how serious we take business. Some like it if you lighten the burden with humor, others don’t. Still, I’m convinced that humor is the best way to lighten up a tense situation, to disarm a conflict and to treat yourself not too seriously. And that being said by someone who grew up in Germany 😉

Today I got a mail from a friend and colleague, he’s a booking agent too. He was offering a combination of three different musical styles, and three legendary musical careers, combined in one special project with improvisations and all: Captain Sensible, Keith Emerson and Celine Dion. Look them up, imagine how that would sound like!

He was flooded with reactions, of course. Many of them reacted positive to the date today and to the humor. They were happy to use the occasion to lighten up and make a joke back. Some though were appalled when realizing that it was a joke, claiming that they don’t have any time for this kind of nonsense.

Some years ago the relation between my sisters and me was just getting better again, when my brother was about to destroy it all again with an e-mail. I was furious and stamped through the office (I was working in the weekend). I got this metaphor, of my brother as an elephant in a porcelain shop (a German proverb for ‘like a bull in a china shop’). And I love elephants, but not in that specific location. So instead of getting angry, I used this metaphor in my reaction, including the note that I love elephants. It got my brother to calm down and saved my relationship with my sisters.

Humor works, especially if you know to put yourself in perspective, to laugh about yourself. That works in all cultures I know so far. It works in family conflicts as well as in business, and not only on April 01!

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