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The Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0097 | April 22, 2003
6,500 Subscribers

picture of Steve Davis, editor of the Master Facilitator Journal.

From the Publisher: 

Hello MFJ Readers. 

Our feature article in this issue "Humor In The Workplace: If All You Do When You Go To Work is Work, then You Need to Lighten Up!," is by Ann Fry and Terrill Fischer of, a virtual university that specializes in humor and lightness in the workplace. As facilitators, we know the power of lightness and play to bring out the creative best in people. This article presents some good ideas to cultivating a spirit of humor and lightness in the workplace that you may want to pass on to your client managers and leaders.

We're also offering a free teleclass with guest Ann Fry of entitled, "Humor - The Hidden Ingredient for ALL Good Facilitators." This is part of our teleclass series and will be offered at 7 PM EDT on Monday, May 1st. Read and register for this class at the bottom of this issue.

If you or your colleagues are interested in submitting an article for consideration, please email your ideas. I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great week... 
Steve Davis


Humor in the Workplace
If All You Do When You Go To Work is Work, then You Need to Lighten Up!

The Point

Do you realize that you spend more hours at work every day than you do with your significant other, your kids or anyone else for that matter? So, if you spend all those hours with all those people at work, wouldn't you like it to be a more fun, uplifting, satisfying experience?

Remember the saying, "Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone?" Are you spending your day laughing or are you spending your day crying? Are you getting up each morning and saying, "Wow, I love what I do." Or "I can't wait to get to work today?" or are you saying, "Ugh, another day in that (blankety, blank) place?"

I'm going to be a bit unconventional here and suggest that you begin looking at the workplace and the workday in a different way. I'm suggesting that if your employees are happy and have a full, rich, fun, balanced life, then, your department/agency will function at peak performance. Now, perhaps you have never quite thought of happiness as a desired characteristic of your employees; but if I told you that happy employees are more productive employees, would that be of interest to you?

I'd like to invite you to reconsider-expand your paradigm-to look at what it means to have happy employees. Then, once we've determined the benefits of having satisfied/happy employees, we'll explore how to make the workplace more fun or humorous.

When characteristics of fun are apparent, what you'll notice in the workplace is that your employees:

  • Contribute to the productivity of your agency
  • Have your interests in mind-are loyal
  • Are more creative and show more motivation
  • Look forward to rising each morning, facing the day with enthusiasm and pitching in wholeheartedly.


Time to "lighten up!"

Think of the buzzwords we use and the issues we face in the work world today: change, stress, downsizing, doing more with less, re-engineering, conflict. Employees complain of not being understood or appreciated, of not feeling a sense of purpose about or a true connection with their work, and not having a voice to register with their company. The result of all this is substance abuse, high absenteeism, high job turnover, violence, physical and emotional illness and the subsequent " off the chart" cost of health care.

The first step toward creating an environment where your employees will feel happy at work is to select a "designated fun person"-someone who is normally a happy, fun and playful person. Then, ask that person to select a workplace fun committee. Then, let the committee create your fun workplace. A fun workplace is one where employees can be openly lighthearted. They can laugh out loud, even in the hallways, they can post funny pictures and cartoons and have contests. They can have "dress down" days and "theme" days. They can have toys on their desks and music in their offices. They can have secret pals and give surprise gifts to each other. They can bring their pet dogs, cats or fish to work and even to meetings.

They can have a breakroom that really gives them a break-with paints and easels, audio tapes, funny videos, comic books and more-so they return to their desks refreshed and ready to work. Our motto is, "the company that plays together, stays together!" The truth is that happy employees are productive employees. It's that simple! As stated above, the qualities of rapport-building, communication and connectedness are what's desired in today's workplace. Thus, we need skills like: thinking outside the box, brainstorming, teambuilding, creating results, cooperation, flexibility. All of these skills are encompassed in the skills of improvisation-the art of being spontaneous. Humor produces many benefits. It frees communication, changes perspective, empowers, acts as a connector, decreases tension and it facilitates learning and performing.

What kind of workplace do you want? Think about it.

© Humor University, 1999. Ann Fry and Terrill Fischer. Check out their website at


How can you employ one of the tips discussed above in your workplace or within the groups you work with? I'd love to hear what shows up for you. Please email us your comments.

Humor at Work: The Guaranteed, Bottom-Line, Low Cost, High-Efficiency Guide to Success Through Humor, by Esther Blumenfeld (Preface), Lynne Alpern (Preface)

Humor can be an extremely useful tool for success; when used properly it can reduce stress, improve communication, and create a more comfortable work environment. Now best-selling humorists Esther Blumenfeld and Lynne Alpern offer guidance for identifying and developing your own sense-and style-of humor. Focusing on both traditional and nontraditional workplaces-whether you're a seasoned executive or an entry-level assistant-HUMOR AT WORK reveals the inside track on using humor to improve you speeches and negotiations, to develop management abilities and leadership roles, and to guide you through the pitfalls of day-to-day life.

If you know someone who might benefit and enjoy this newsletter, please send this link to a friend.

About the Publisher
Steve Davis is a Facilitator's Coach helping leaders enhance their effectiveness through the application and perspective of facilitation. Please email or call me at 805-489-4130 to schedule a Free exploratory session, or to share your suggestions and ideas for the journal. I'd love to hear from you. If you find this newsletter helpful, please forward it to your friends. Thanks for reading!

In the Spotlight

Humor: The Hidden Ingredient
for ALL Good Facilitators

--Monday, May 1st at 7 PM EDT--

Course Description

We'll begin this course by describing what we mean by "humor" as an ingredient in our work and how to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate humor. Then we'll explore how humor would really help facilitators facilitate?

We do a couple of "improv" activities to see that humor and fun can happen on the phone or in groups and process what we learn from it.

This will be a very experiential class and participants will definitely not just be listening ... but will be laughing and playing.

As a result of this class, you will be able to:

1. Understand how humor makes a difference in the direct work you do
with groups.
2. Identify where you fall on the serious/fun scale ... between 1 and 10
3. Make the distinction between Fun and Funny
4. Know, without a doubt how to tap into your own unique sense of humor
5. Use Improv skills to get your groups more involved
6. Have the beginnings of a plan of action for adding more FUN to
your facilitation experience.

This class will be held on Monday, May 1st at 7 PM EDT. Click here and press send to register: Please register now if you're interested as space is limited.


Thank you for reading this issue of the Master Facilitator Journal. Look for your next issue on April 29, 2003.


Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved