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Moderated by : Eva Rosenberg  mailto:eva@workinghumor.com

Assisted By : Gunjan Saraf   mailto:gunjan@workinghumor.com

12th December  2001    #     037
"No! No no no no no no! Well, yes."
- Homer Simpson

Maybe! Maybe not!! Maybe Yes!! Maybe Maybe!!!!!!
- Guess who


Moderator's Comment -
                                    ~ Gunjan


Openings Lines
                           ~ Scott Simmerman

Speaking Tips
                            ~ John Counsel


Getting to Know Your Laughmates
                           ~ Meet Millie

Catching it in a Flash!
                          ~ Gunjan

~ Gunjan


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Moderator's Message

Dear LaughMates,

Longtime Laughmates might remember our discussion on how to handle telemarketers (and the dirty tricks department which never really took off). In light of that I just have to share this snippet I found in Cascade Express....

A telemarketer called and was in the middle of giving her spiel about saving money on long-distance.

Paul politely interrupted her, saying: "Ma'am, I don't need your long distance service because I don't have a telephone."

Must have caught her off guard because she said, "Oh, I'm sorry to have bothered you." And she hung up!

Next a big thank you to Laughmate Stephanie. She followed my postscript in the last issue and invited some great people to join us. Among them
we are thrilled to know that Elizabeth of www.savanahsays.com has signed up. Welcome Elizabeth.

Talking of Stephanie, she's got a great discussion group on New Thought Principles. Only problem is some days you can get so many interesting posts
you'll never manage to finish your other work.
Subscribe (at your own risk :-) at

Lastly I got a note from Dan Jamal of PRLeads.com saying that he won't be sharing his spammer story currently since it's part of his presentations. If you're eager to hear it (as I am) you'll have to attend one of his presentations or wait for I-Laugh #370. ;-)

With no further ado, Here's I-Laugh 37......

coz 7 days without a pun makes one weak


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=====  Replies =====

===> Opening Lines

From Scott Simmerman

I love some of those "statistical" openings, like when presenting to an audience of quality managers and you use the old, 2 kinds of people:

"Research has shown there are only two kinds of people, those who are managing ISO 9000 processes and those who will be learning how to manage ISO 9000 processes."

I used it in the car the other day when a friend was explaining how she lost much of her billing database because she didn't backup often enough.

    "...and those who have not yet had a computer crash."

My guess is that she will NOW back up a bit more regularly!  <grin>

Personally, I use a somewhat different set up for the vast majority of my sessions. I deal with cartoons about how organizations operate. The goal is to get people involved and engaged RIGHT AWAY ("You never get a second chance to make a first impression," Head and Shoulders advert).

I open with the Deming quote,

    "All Models are Wrong, Some Models are Useful." **

Then, with little preamble, I say, "...that I am going to share MY model of how things really work in most organizations.  Your challenge will be to define, in the next few minutes, as many of the key factors in this model as you can."

With this puzzling beginning ( I WANT to get them a little off balance), I show them a wagon with wooden Square Wheels® being pulled with a rope by a leader and with people pushing from behind. The wagon's cargo is round rubber tires.  Duh.

   ** This has also been attributed to a couple of other people
         including an unknown mathematician. Since I am dealing
         in metaphor anyway, I still attribute to Deming since he is
         so much better known by managers...  (artistic license)

I've captured over 300 different participant responses to the illustration (when I was actually counting) and use it to make key points about leadership, communications, teamwork, various organizational dynamics and the reality that

  "The Round Wheels already exist within the wagon
     but it is a journey of continuous continuous improvement."

(My spell checker always coughs on the Department of Redundancy
Department's Continuous Continuous Improvement reframe but what works well today may NOT work so well tomorrow...)

If anyone would like a FREE copy of this illustration that they might
use in presentations and discussions, drop me an email and I will send
instructions for downloading it,


For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman - "The Square Wheels Guy"
Performance Management Company - 800-659-1466

       - Tools for Training and Development <http://www.squarewheels.com/>
       - Scott as Speaker <http://www.simmerman.com/>

Comments on these opening lines or if you have seen
any great opening lines-

====> Speaking

 Hi Gunjan,

Public speaking, for me, is about NEVER using notes, and ALWAYS using 'bits,' as Tom calls them.

I ran theatre-restaurants here for more than a decade and served my time as a stand-up comedian. My comedy routines were always created using 'bits' that led from one point to the next, smoothly, no matter how acute the turnover was in terms of topic... the theme enabled me to segue to the next routine without pause or loss of cogency.

I also teach from time to time in Master of Education programs (I'm a former teacher -- primary school, secondary school, tertiary, physically disabled and reform schools -- so not much fazes me when it comes to handling an audience.

I never suffer from butterflies because I'm always totally on top of my material -- which is my own unique intellectual property, which helps. (Another reason I never need notes.)

I also NEVER use a fixed rostrum or microphone. I work the floor, up close and personal.

In my training seminars and workshops, I work from highly graphic workbooks rather than overhead or data projectors, so that I'm never sabotaged by technology, my audience can all see the visuals clearly, they get to take them all home and it's dead easy for me to move smoothly through the concepts and their implementations.

I use humour profusely -- and always in a linked theme that has relevance to the topic, even if the joke itself is not really on topic. But the humour always serves the topic... it's never gratuitous. It either sets up the context for the next section of the presentation, or it cements it into the memories of audience members.

I'm usually remembered more than my subject, although the subject is always rated extremely highly by audiences. That's the High Commissioner's influence coming through once more... if you're going to use speaking gigs to market yourself and your services, ultimately you need to be an inextricable part of the total message.

That doesn't always produce the expected result. I once had a meeting with an associate with whom I was planning some team teaching projects. His wife was buzzing around us while we talked about strategy and style and chimed in with an observation: she'd attended a small business seminar two years before which she found mind-numbingly boring, except for the final speaker, whom she described as "a breath of fresh air". She recalled how she noticed the entire tone of the seminar suddenly pick up and, even though the speaker had to limit himself to just 10 minutes because the others had
taken his time, his humour, his engaging personal style, and his highly-provocative ideas had the foyer buzzing afterward and she'd gained more from those 10 minutes than from the preceding 130 minutes.

She recommended that we track down this speaker through the promoters and get him involved. Then we'd have a sure-fire winner.

I fell about laughing, because she was talking about me. On stage, I look totally different to my usual mode of apparel, which my wife sneeringly describes as "hobo chic".

She was at once mortified and thrilled. It was a memorable occasion for me, and very gratifying that she remembered my persona and presentation without remembering me.

My style is open, low key, and I talk to the audience as individuals. My talks are also akin to a roller coaster ride. I lead them up (without hype or "pump up", solely by the strength of my ideas), then pull the rug out from under them with a 180 degree swing in perspective that leaves them questioning their assumptions and ready for totally new insights. (Pardon those mixed metaphors!)

Nobody ever goes to sleep. But some leave because they can't handle the ride. Usually dyed-in-the-wool control freaks who find the sudden revelation of how irrefutably self-defeating and terminally stupid their approach really
is, whether in sales, management or "human resources".

But it's fun!

Hope this helps.


John Counsel
CEO, The Profit Clinic
Small Business Help Centre

"One of the best small business information sites on the web...
a fabulous resource... a must-see!" [Best of the Net Award]
- Small Business Guide, About.com

Comments on this post or share with us any speakers
you have felt were truly inspiring to you ....

Cartoon Break

I said sit!

Meet the winner of the T-Shirt Slogan contest

Before Coffee....

=====  New Discussions  =====

====> Flash of Inspiration

Hi Friends,

Was hearing this tale of a calendar shoot and just had to share with all of you.

One of Bangalore's leading photographers was shooting for a calendar. The theme was children in different ethnic dresses.

Since it's for a calendar he naturally needed the kids to have at their cheerful best. Unfortunately a couple of children were not at their sunniest that day.

While everyone was wondering what should be done, H disappeared under the big cloth that he shades his camera with and seemed to be pottering about with his camera.

After about 5 minutes of pottering he came out and sat down beside the kids. He told them he had 3 pieces of good news for them.

1) The place where the shoot was being held had a big video game arcade. (Smiles begin to form)
2) As soon as the shoot is over they can enjoy them at the arcade for as long as they like. (The smiles grow slightly)
3) The shoot is over ..................NOW and they can go! (Expression of pure unadulterated joy)

As the kids disappeared to play, the person co-ordinating the shoot rushes up to H, "Hey you got them really lit up, but why didn't you shoot it then? When are you going to shoot??"

H answers that the fiddling that he had been doing earlier he had set up the camera to automatically take 6 shots at intervals of 10 seconds after an initial delay of a minute and the shoot is indeed over.

Hope H's flash caught the flash of joy on the children's faces. Also hope I could get some flashy ideas like that to light up the faces of every Laughmate...

With best wishes,

Comments :

====> Getting to Know Your Laughmates
                           ~ Millie Meyer

Millie M. Meyer, C.H.P. Health Humorist <milmey@netscape.net>

Hi Gunjan and Eva,
I'm sorry that Gabor is so unhappy with the low response. I am a Health Humorist, so humor and joy are very important to me. Let's all send Gabor a feather to get him giggling! k? Whatever it takes to turn that frown upside-down.

By way of intro, as I said before, I am a Health Humorist. I'm also a Certified Humor Presenter. I teach Therapeutic Humor in a mental health setting. I also give community presentations on the benefits of Therapeutic Humor.

I got into this when I realized that the most important coping tools: humor, laughter, play and joy, were not included in the treatment plans of mental health patients. Everything was so serious! So I began researching the best ways to help people add these wonderful tools to their daily lives.

Along the way, I've enjoyed the richness they have added to my life. Though I had always believed in these things, I had not thought about trying to 'sell' it to others.

I discovered how hungry people are for laughter and joy, but most had the common misconceptions, such as: funny people are born that way; life is meant to be serious; if I laugh and play too much, I won't be taken as professional; I don't want to be seen as childish, etc., etc., etc.

How I love to quash those misconceptions! I love to awaken folks to the humor and joy in their daily environment, and to help them to learn to laugh at themselves.

I am a psych. nurse, a grandmother, a vertically challenged woman (menopause has not been kind to me - ha). I have fun doing skits based on my 'less-than-perfect' traits.

I don't know that I have anything that is especially beneficial to your newsletter or discussions, but I wanted you to know that you have a Laughmate in southeast Idaho.

Cheers & hugs,
Sillie Millie

If you haven't been featured yet and would like to be :

===========  Helpful Humor Tip  ==========

How to Handle Waiting!

Back in the days when I was medical sales representative, I used to spend a lot of time waiting for the doctors to call me in before I could make my sales pitch. I noticed that a lot of the other reps who were in the same predicament used to use the time by gossiping or bitching.

A lot of them had got so used to the idea that they'll have to wait (without getting used to pass this time) that they used to start bitching even before their appointments were late. "What's the bet he's going to make us wait for atleast 30 minutes", "She normally makes sales reps wait atleast 25 minutes", "The worst time was when I was waiting for Dr X, he made me wait 2 and half hours" etc were common lines I heard.

I used to find this very stupid cause I felt once you got into this mode it's quite hard to reorient yourself in the one minute or so that you have once you're called in (finally) and get your focus back to your spiel. And if you're not at your best in the first minute or so you tend to lose the Doctor's attention after
which your entire visit is a waste.

This whole string of thought came back to me as I'm reading a P.G Wodehouse book (It's been years since my last one). In it Wodehouse writes ....

William FitzWilliam Delamere Chalmers, Lord Dawlish, had no secret sorrow. All that he was thinking of at that moment was the best method of laying a golf ball dead in front of the Palace Theatre. It was his habit to pass time in mental golf when Claire Fenwick was late in keeping her appointments with him. On one occasion she had kept him waiting so long that he had been
able to do nine holes, starting at the Savoy Grill and finishing up near Hammersmith. His was a simple mind, able to amuse itself with simple things.

Well, I had a simple mind too, and found that playing mental games kept me easily cheerful even through a long wait. However there was just one problem, sometimes the mental games were so interesting that it was almost a disappointment or a disturbance when you were called in. (Imagine being called away just as you're about to score :-). This caused the same loss of focus that the gossipers would have probably faced.

So I changed the games. The most common game I used to play was thinking of the most amusing or most unusual opening statements with which I could start my pitch. Or what was the best way I could gently bring to the Doctor's notice that he had kept me waiting for ages, but that was ok.

Some of the weird results that I still remember ....
1) Doctor - Sorry to have kept you waiting !
   Gunjan - That's ok! you have the prettiest nurses I've
                seen. It's my pleasure waiting here.

2) Doctor - Sorry to have kept you waiting !
   Gunjan - Your blue wall is such a cheerful shade,
                 it wasn't a painful wait at all.

and to a Doctor who probably held the record for making people wait the longest.....

(with a cheery tone, making sure it didn't sound like a

Hey Doc, you really should get an aquarium. Then at least we'd have somebody to talk to while we wait. (This Doctor, got the hint! No he didn't get an aquarium. He started calling me in faster on my subsequent visits.

So whether you are waiting for an appointment, or waiting for your turn on the dais and the previous speaking has lost his watch or even waiting for your girlfriend, just play a few mental games and see if you can keep yourself more calm and cheerful. See how much better a date goes when you start with - "You know, while waiting for you I noticed that white cars are much more common than black cars" instead of "Why the hell are you twenty two minutes late???"

Hope you find this tip helpful. Please do share your views on it.

coz 7 days without a pun makes one weak

P.S - I have also used or should I say misused the reverse of this tip. Many a times I've been able to get a bullshitter all worked up to the extent where they are unable to deliver their parrot speeches simply by making them wait. :-)

Comments :

===========  This week's Humor  ==========

A judge was interviewing a lady regarding her pending divorce, and asked, "What are the grounds for your divorce?"

She replied, "About four acres and a nice little home in the
middle of the property with a stream running by."

"No," he said, "I mean what is the foundation of this case?"

"It is made of concrete, brick and mortar," she responded.

"I mean," he continued, "What are your relations like?"

"I have an aunt and uncle living here in town, and so do my husband's parents."

He said, "Do you have a real grudge?"

"No," she replied, "We have a two-car carport and have never really needed one."

"Please," he tried again, "is there any infidelity in your marriage?"

"Yes, both my son and daughter have stereo sets. We don't necessarily like the music, but the answer to your question is 'yes'."

"Ma'am, does your husband ever beat you up?"

"Yes," she responded, "about twice a week he gets up earlier than I do."

Finally, in frustration, the judge asked, "Lady, why do you want a divorce?"

"Oh, I don't want a divorce," she replied. "I've never wanted a divorce. My husband does. He said he can't communicate with me."

(Thanks Mrs. Manjula Beliappa for sending this in)

Comments :


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