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Power of Humor: Making it work at the office

December 20, 2009

I have spent a lot of time in hospitals lately as my dad deals with severe radiation burns. Despite the challenges, stress and lack of resources within the healthcare system, I’m amazed at hospital staff who use humour to put patients at ease.  Even a few simple words can get a patient to laugh, smile and momentarily forget their troubles. Here are some of my favorite hospital moments:

* Prior to surgery in August, staff had to put a hair net on my dad.  When they gave him an unattractive cap, they joked about having to take his picture.  Next when they had to get him slippers, they promised him the ‘Armanis”.  It was the perfect way to help lighten the stress of surgery.

* While my dad was waiting for one of the many tests, scans and procedures, one of the nurses told him “Running away was not allowed”.

* An orderly, who took my dad for a CT scan, walked in calling him ‘handsome’ in the most respectful yet fun way.  Once he found out my dad’s last name was Woods, he started calling him Tiger after the famous golfer.  My dad and those around him laughed especially in light of the recent controversy surrounding Tiger.

If hospital employees can use humor effectively, you too can use it in your work environment to reduce stress, enhance relationships or improve teamwork. Use humor in conversation, at meetings or in presentations. Start small, with these simple suggestions, until you find your comfort zone.

1.    Find funny quotes instead of making up your own humor. There are many sources but try these two to start and

2.    Share a funny story. It’s easy to find funny stories or news however the best stories are ones that involve you.  Laughing at yourself allows your colleagues to see your humility, ability to take yourself lightly and your sense of humor.  Just ensure the story is appropriate for the office and won’t risk offending anyone.

3.    Repeat a great one liner or joke from a show, movie or comedy routine. A few good examples for the office are” “Houston, we have a problem” (Apollo 13), “I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” (Wizard of Oz), or “Show me the money” (Jerry Maguire). Obviously it’s up to you to find an appropriate time and place to use any line.

The more you practice using humor at work, the more you’ll see its workplace benefits.

Want us to bring laughter that reduces stress and boosts morale to your organization, email us

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sharon permalink
    December 22, 2009 9:15 pm

    Hi Wendy,

    I especially enjoyed your snippets of hospital humor with your Dad. Interesting to note how just a few words can lighten the moment and still be respectful.

    Keep up the great work.


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