When we think of entrepreneurship, we tend to picture startups and unicorns. But there are so many different types of businesses that revolve around taking risks. An event-based business is similar to a fast-growing tech company in the sense that both have goals of growth, attracting talent, and getting recognition from the press. So what can we learn from a more diverse range of businesses types?
Here, I interview SF Sketchfest co-founders Cole Stratton, David Owen, and Janet Varney to hear about their entrepreneurial journeys and what they’ve learned along the way. [FYI, the power of comedy is real.]
Listen to the interview below, and tweet @AirPR with your favorite funny takeaway.
Thanks, (author) Rebekah! Meet another bright mind behind the scenes at AirPR…
I’m a HUGE fan of humor in communications. It keep conversations upbeat, helps to cultivate relationships in a unique way, and forces you to not take yourself too seriously. Because who wants to be around a perpetual SpongeBob-Serious-Pants?
To get to the nitty gritty of comedy and how we can apply it to everyday business practices, I tapped my good friend, funny gal and CEO/Founder of Comediva, Erika Cervantes. Below are five ways to harness humor and enhance otherwise ho-hum activities during your workday and beyond.
#1 – Make Lists
Everyone loves a list (including the Internet itself). Plus, lists are a great way to turn dull internal communications into fun, highly consumable memos. For example, check out this mock email:
Due to a recent outbreak of Comic Sans, we are instating a new policy. Here is a list of approved intra-office memo fonts:
3) Times New Roman
*Never Papyrus” (Because we are not a Trader Joe’s product.)
In all seriousness, though, we really DO only want you to use Helvetica or Calibri. It’s a stylistic preference that will help us communicate with each other effectively, etcetera.
Thanks, as always, for your hard work!
Everyone’s Favorite Manager
#2 – Say “Yes, and…”
Improvisational comedy is all about finding the “funny” in the moment. The basic tenets of improv — which are really just great communication skills — involve saying yes, listening, and thinking on your feet.
Imagine a business world where you say yes to an idea and build upon it rather than shooting it down from the get-go. (Nice picture, huh?) Next time you’re planning one of those warm-and-fuzzy team-building events, think about making it an improv class. After all, what could be funnier than watching your coworkers play keep-away with an imaginary ball?
#3 – Make the First Joke
To be honest, jokes can sometimes slow down meetings. But placed wisely, they can be a great way to diffuse tension, communicate feedback, and skate through awkward moments.
Imagine you’re watching a boring industry panel. Four panelists sit awkwardly at the front of a room, passing along a microphone, introducing themselves with their standard spiel. Your eyes are already glazing over. But suddenly, the third panelist nonchalantly cracks a joke about how the microphone smells a little like spit when she introduces herself. Laughter erupts from the crowd. For the remaining forty minutes, all eyes are on her — the audience wants to hear her opinion and her comical insights.
If you control the laughter, you control the room.
#4 – Embrace Public Speaking Like Stand-Up Comedy
Stand-up comedians are some of the bravest people in the world. They have to be nutso to get onstage and welcome criticism, ridicule, and utter public humiliation.
In business, every presentation or public speaking engagement holds potential for a scarring public meltdown. Most people fear public speaking more than death because whenever our ancestors stood in front of large groups of people they were, perhaps, about to be sacrificed to the gods.
But if you can stand up in front of a group of people you don’t know, crack a few jokes as you present your work, and live to tell the tale, you’ll realize you’re not going to have your heart ripped out of your chest and presented to Huehueteotl, and you can do anything.
#5 – Get a Sidekick or Be a Sidekick*
What do you do if you’re not funny? Like, really not funny? Well, there is a simple fix for this… Find the one guy or gal in your office who has a knack for making people laugh and creepily observe them. Get to know them, take them to coffee, and always laugh at their jokes. Before you know it, almost like magic osmosis, you will find yourself easing your way into the land of the funnies.
*Special Note: During the observation phase, try not to be annoying. (‘Tis best to play it cool.)
Well, there you have it. The business world would be a much better place if taken a little less seriously. So next time you’re thinking about emailing a boring memo or planning yet another team bowling night, think about the magic of humor and enjoy the results of your newfound approach! Your colleagues will surely appreciate it.
Thanks, (author) Rebekah! Meet another bright mind behind the scenes at AirPR…
SAN FRANCISCO— Sources confirmed Monday that millions of online users are becoming obsessed with emerging metadata symbol, the backslash (\). The hashtag (#), made popular by Twitter in 2009 and enabling even complete morons’ comments to appear in trending streams, is believed by many to have reached a saturation point.
According to clandestine, non-NRA-related reports from China, the first backslash usage appeared in an email by one J.K. Pickett, rumored to be an American of Italian descent.
Pickett, who does not work in technology, doesn’t own an iPhone, and is often left scratching his head when attempting to post photos on Facebook, first alluded to the backslash as he recounted a family incident to a confidante.
Key excerpts from the email tell a chilling backstory:
A few weeks ago my grandmother (age 87) threw me the hashtag symbol as I left her house and said “#dontbeastranger.”
Pretending not to be in shock, I simply smiled and said “Ok I won’t Grandma” — but inside I was deeply disturbed. I didn’t sleep for days. I could barely eat. And I’m 25 percent Italian!
There she was, this sweet elderly woman, struggling with peer pressure and mainstream media’s attempt to popularize the hashtag. What she was really trying to tell me was that sometimes I’m a selfish Millennial who forgets to call or write or visit, but I was so thrown off by the hashtag in my face, her comment nearly lost its impact and ensuing feelings of guilt.”
#HumbleBrag: We announced on Monday our $4 million Series A led by Mohr Davidow Ventures. Prepare for more disruption as we continue to propel the PR evolution! All the exciting news can be found in CrunchBase, The Hub and Dow Jones. Thanks to each of you for your continued support. The journey has only begun.
Now to prove we’re not totally self centered AND we can talk about something other than our amazing, ground-breaking, disruptive, brilliant, mind-blowing technology, I present your weekly dose of satire. This hilarious parody is a one minute break your brain fully deserves and IMHO, could be potentially spur some ground breaking legislature in the near future…
BREAKING NEWS: Bridesmaids Relief Act makes it to the Hill
WASHINGTON DC – Fresh on the heels of tax season and prior to the biggest wedding month of the year, Congress has announced they can finally agree on one thing: bridesmaids everywhere deserve a little bit of a financial (not to mention emotional) break.
To this end, Congress has unanimously passed Bridesmaids Relief Act. The rise of the hyper-wedding industry (aka “Matrimania”) started around 1997 when baby boomers (who actually had money then) began spending their surplus on over-the-top nuptial celebrations to “keep up with the Joneses”.
One Republican Congressman, who has chosen to go unnamed as to not upset his twenty-seven year old daughter whose June wedding will cost him upwards of $275,000, asserts: “We may bicker over healthcare reform and other systemic issues, but every Congress-person can agree that weddings are putting an undue burden on a distinct subset of our constituents – females (mostly single) between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-five.”
From the bachelorette parties, to the wedding showers, to the flights, to the dresses, to the therapy sessions post-wedding when they are reminded they are still single, the whole thing has gotten out of hand for these poor gals.