Your Working Humor Discussion List
I-Laugh - Your 'Working' Humor Discussion List
Moderated by : Eva Rosenberg mailto:email@example.com
Assisted By : Gunjan Saraf mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
29th May 2002 # Issue 61
It's funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands
and they'll do practically anything you want them to.
~ Holden Caulfield
IN THIS DIGEST :
Moderator's Comment -
The Other Moderator's Comment
Speaking of Speaking
Speaking Tips (Hats)
~ from Tom Antion
I am not amused!
Selling and Chess
THIS WEEK'S HUMOR
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My cousin was down here for a couple of week's
holidays after completing an MBA from IIM, Lucknow,
one of the premier management institutes in the country.
He told me a couple of stories or rather incidents that
had happened during the on campus recruitment
One interesting incident was with a friend of his.
This friend, let's call him M, has always had the weirdest
sense of humor and was being interviewed for a marketing
At the interview he was asked if there was anything special
about him which would be an asset to the company. He
replied that there was, went on to tell them that what was
special about him was that he was totally mad and went
on to do a chicken imitation act.
This had the interviewers quite shocked and wary off him,
but one them managed to ask how his madness would be
an asset to the company.
"When normal things are all flopping and the economy is
in recession, a bit of madness might just work!" Replied
M. The interviewers weren't impressed by his spiel or
taken by his sense of humor and packed him off.
Personally, I'd have hired him on the spot. I'll go into more
details in my posts below. Tom Antion's speaking tip for
today is related to a serious mistake that M made, though
as usual Tom's tip is on public speaking. I hope you see
the connection. But before you read the posts, I'd like your
views on whether you would have hired M...
or not ...
Please add your reasons to your answer.....
Once you've sent in your views let's move on with I-Laugh #61.
With Best Wishes,
Many a true word is spoken in jest.
Jest for Pun - email@example.com
Jest a Quote - firstname.lastname@example.org
Jest in Literature (A) - email@example.com
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Please, send any comments to:
The Other Moderator's Message
An odd thing happened to me on the way to PRLeads response.
(Some of you may know that I've been using Dan Janal's service
to get TaxMama.com and Eva Rosenberg written up in major
publications across the country, uh, world, actually.)
I've been really fortunate and have managed to attract the attention
of many of the writers. And have gotten some really good press.
Well, sometimes, I'll send out a response to a writer's query and
nothing happens. (Even to me, can you imagine?!) At other times,
the writer will respond with a cool, or boilerplate, response, saying,
thanks, but I have all the responses I need for now. (After all, I am
only one of many who respond. In fact, there is a whole organization
of Financial Planners who get these same leads.)
There is one writer, in particular, for a website that I'd dearly like to
get exposure on, who always sends me back a very cool response.
(You know, 'thanks, but no thanks.")
Well, this week, I sent her a note to her about one of her queries,
with a quickie response. And signed with, "Oh, you remember me,
that TaxMama" etc.
I have no idea what happened, but...practically by return mail, she
replied, "Hello Eva! Of course I remember you. I would love to
hear your tips to include in the article."
You could have knocked me over!
All this time, I thought...
Why do I bring this up? So you can laugh at me? (OK, maybe.)
No, really, why?
For so many reasons - and this applies to all you do:
1) Persist. And persist in a friendly, polite fashion.
(You don't really need to squawk like
a chicken, but...<g>)
2) Don't automatically assume they don't like/want you.
Or that you're not good
3) It may just not be the right time or right subject.
Sometimes, synergy really
comes into play.
I'll bet this has happened to you. Or would have if you had kept
following up. So, tell us a story....
I persisted and it paid off!
I felt rejected and let it go. But what's if I had...
Really, I'd like you to think it through. What's IF you had gone
Your Comic Guide,
P.S. You've just got to read Tom's tip below. What a great idea!
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===== Continuing Discussions =====
======> Speaking of Speaking
In her post Speaking of Speaking in I-Laugh # 60 Eva starts
by saying ....
> You already know that getting up in front of a group is one
> of the hardest and most stressful things you can do.
Just 2-3 weeks back I would have agreed with her completely.
The few presentations that I had had to make earlier used to
be a nightmare.
However in just these few weeks with the ToastMasters, I'm feeling
more comfortable and much less stressed. Moreover, as THESE
speaking opportunities give a chance to talk about my favorite
grouses or throw in my lot behind my pet philosophies, it leaves
me feeling very refreshed indeed especially as soon as I've finished
delivering the speech. The feeling lasts for days together!
Any other Laughmates have found public speaking to be a
stress buster rather than a stress causer?
=== > Speaking Tips
TEST HUMOR by Tom Antion
I was doing a taped interview with a very experienced speaker
last week and I told him about the way I structure my
introduction for a talk. This speaker had more than 20 years
speaking experience. Here's what he told me, "I've never heard of
this technique and I'm going to implement it immediately."
Think about how you would feel if you delivered one of your best
humorous opening lines and the audience sat there stone faced. It
wouldn't really make you look or feel that good would it?
That NEVER happens to me because of the following technique: I
put a piece of "test humor" in my introduction. This is a
and mildly humorous line. (I want it to be simple so the
introducer doesn't mess up the delivery of the line.) During the
introduction I position myself so I can watch the reaction of the
audience when the humorous line is delivered.
When you have seen the same piece of humor delivered by many
different introducers in many settings you get a good feel for
the range of reactions different audiences give to the line.
By doing this, I am able to see if the audience is "in fun"
means are they in the mood to laugh? If the audience chuckles or
outright laughs, I know that I can deliver a humorous line and at
least get a chuckle out of the audience. If they just sit there
when the test humor is delivered, I go into a straight content
YOU ALWAYS LOOK GOOD
The use of this technique guarantees that I will never look poor
or uncomfortable during the critical opening moments of a speech.
If they're ready to have fun, then so am I. If they're not ready
to have fun, then I give them their content while sizing them up.
Maybe they want to get to know me a little before they trust me
enough to go along with my humor. Maybe they want to see if I
know what I'm talking about before they "respect me" enough to
go along with my humor. This is what "warming up the audience is
The experienced speaker I mentioned above attempted to warm up
the audience by forcing humorous lines upon them. If they weren't
ready to laugh, then the speaker had to dig out from a hole he
dug for himself.
In some case the audience may never be ready to laugh for many
different reasons. They might be tired. The time of day might be
bad. They might have gotten some really bad news, It might be
mandatory that they attend when they want to be out golfing. If
you try to force humor to an audience that is not ready to laugh,
you will look, very, very bad.
Use test humor in your introduction to find out if they are ready
to laugh BEFORE you hit the stage...
from Tom Antion's
You can subscribe to Tom's free newsletter 'Great Speaking'
To subscribe why not use our affiliate link (given below)
Comments or if have you a tip to share -
An Important Check!
I WANT HER!
===== New Discussions =====
====> I am not Amused !
M's story, which I recounted above reminded me of
At the time when I stayed in Rajgangpur, a small town
(in fact it was too small to be called a town) in Orissa
I was asked to be the Leo Club Advisor. It was a real
fun job as these youngsters had never heard of some
of the literary activities common in the big city colleges
like JAM's (Jest -a-minute); Mad-Ads, Dumb-Charades;
Creative Writing etc, and really took to these activities.
For one meeting we organised a Mad-Ad contest. This
occasion was open to anyone to watch and we had
approximately a hundred guests. The judges were - a
gentleman from out of town, Mr. Pashupathi, the
executive director of the biggest company in that place
The youngsters were split in groups and each group was
given a weird product/company that they had to promote
with a humorous skit. The group which had the most
humorous fellow in the group landed up with 'Push and
They came up with a brilliant skit built around the concept
that their airline had the Hindu God - Shiva as a handyman,
always on hand to give a helping (pushing) hand if any of
their flights stopped in mid-air and thus theirs was the safest
airline in the world.
The concept was well executed and the dialogue was so
well done that most of the audience was in tears with
laughter. Unfortunately, Mr. Pashupathi, a very devout
follower of Shiva found nothing amusing about Shiva
being depicted as a handy man. He was incensed and
was insistent that the group be disqualified.
It was really a painful job explaining to him that wasn't
reasonable. Finally after about 45 minutes he agreed not
to disqualify them but gave them a 0. There scores read
9.5; 9; 0. Crazily enough, most of the other groups hadn't
performed too well and even with that 0 they still managed
to place in second position.
But was I booed when I announced the results (I was not
to read out each judges scores, just final placing). The
entire audience was convinced that this team should have
been placed 1st. (Actually so were 2 of the judges, but that
one person in authority changed the entire scenario.)
Well, in these circumstances it was that team's bad luck
and there wasn't much that they could have done. But to
me it's a constant reminder that there's no such thing as
a universal joke or something which will work with anyone.
A hundred people may like it but if one person who matters
thinks it sucks then the whole routine is a flop.
===> Selling and Chess
One of our first clients when we started our Graphic Design Studio
was a pharmaceutical company. The product manager, was happy
to find out that I had personally worked as a Medical Sales Rep,
in the field, and had an insight into what MSRs face when they
We soon got along great and in my opinion did some good work
together. However we always used to have a battle when he used
to ask me to design their MSR's training manual with it's sample
spiel for each product.
I used to keep telling him.... "How on earth can you prescribe a
sample or demo speech, which most of these fellows memorize
and dish it out at the Doctor?"
For me, selling was always like a game of chess. Right from
the moment you said "Good Morning, Doctor", your next move
would revolve around his next move. Whether he said "Hi",
or "Good Morning", whether he asked you to sit down immediately,
left you standing for sometime, or motioned you to sit all made a
difference in how formal, informal, casual your own tone should
be with the next statement.
Most parrot style trained salesmen, don't pay attention to this and
miss a chance for a casual and friendly discussion rather than a
formal sales pitch.
Another place that I have found, that MSR's who don't think of
selling as a game of chess lose out is that the Doctor may have
just one prime concern. In which case if you don't get to that
prime concern fast you lose his attention. You cannot go through
the features of your product in a pre-meditated list but must be
comfortable with all your product features, to be able to discuss
them in any order that the customer would like to enquire.
A very common problem I have seen is about discussing prices.
A lot of companies, especially ones with slightly higher prices,
want their reps to not disclose prices till the customer has heard
the features. The logic is that if the client is hooked by the features
then he won't mind a slightly higher price.
I remember when I was asking a Salesman for the prices for a
LCD projector and he just wouldn't tell me till I had heard all the
features and seen the demo. I had listened for about 5 minutes
then interrupted again to tell him that I there was no point in telling
me the features cause my budget was XXXXX if the price was
somewhere close to that then we were discussing, otherwise
we were wasting each other's time. The Salesman had fallen off
his chair at hearing my budget, realised we had indeed been
wasting each other's time and thanked me and made a quick
get away. If I hadn't been that direct with him (and most people
aren't) he would have wasted an hour of both our times.
The way I used to get around something like this .... (I don't
want to tell the price yet, client is asking price) ... was to ask
a couple of leading questions, like .... do you have a fixed
budget, or as an MSR ... are your patients overly price
conscious and get an idea as to why the client was asking
for the price before deciding whether to try and side track him
and tell him a few features before telling him the price or to tell
him the price immediately.
Formal, Informal, what to say first, what order to follow, how
much humor to use, not use, etc was all decided as in a game
of chess by making a move watching very closely the clients
move and then responding accordingly.
The mistake that M made, in my opinion, was not weighing
how his interviewers would react to his sense of humor. He should
have come up with some mild jokes, seen their response, if
positive gone for slightly wackier humor .... etc. But then
considering that he is a fresh graduate, it's not such a big deal,
and I'm sure working with me he would have got the hang of
evaluating when and how much of his sense of humor to use,
and once he did, with his unorthodox ideas, he'd make a great
As such, I would have had no hesitation in hiring M.
coz 7 days without a pun makes one weak
=========== This week's Humor ==========
One sunny day a rabbit came out of her hole in the ground to enjoy the
fine weather. The day was so nice that she became careless and a fox
sneaked up behind her and caught her.
"I am going to eat you for lunch!", said the fox.
"Wait!", replied the
"You should at least wait a few days."
"Oh yeah? Why should I wait?"
"Well, I am just finishing my thesis on 'The Superiority of Rabbits
over Foxes and Wolves.'"
"Are you crazy? I should eat you right now! Everybody knows that a
will always win over a rabbit."
"Not really, not according to my research. If you like, you can come
into my hole and read it for yourself. If you are not convinced, you can
go ahead and have me for lunch."
"You really are crazy!"
But since the fox was curious and had nothing to lose, it went with
the rabbit. The fox never came out.
A few days later the rabbit was again taking a break from writing and
sure enough, a wolf came out of the bushes and was ready to set
"Wait!" yelled the rabbit, "you can't eat me right
"And why might that be, my furry appetizer?"
"I am almost finished writing my thesis on 'The Superiority of
over Foxes and Wolves.'"
The wolf laughed so hard that it almost lost its grip on the rabbit.
"Maybe I shouldn't eat you. You really are sick . . . in the head.
might have something contagious."
"Come and read it for yourself. You can eat me afterward if you
disagree with my conclusions."
So the wolf went down into the rabbit's hole . . . and never came out.
The rabbit finished her thesis and was out celebrating in the local
lettuce patch. Another rabbit came along and asked, "What's up?
You seem very happy."
"Yup, I just finished my thesis."
"Congratulations. What's it about?"
"'The Superiority of Rabbits over Foxes and Wolves.'"
"Are you sure? That doesn't sound right."
"Oh yes. Come and read it for yourself."
So together they went down into the rabbit's hole.
As they entered, the friend saw the typical graduate student abode,
albeit a rather messy one after writing a thesis. The computer with the
controversial work was in one corner. To the right there was a pile of
fox bones, to the left a pile of wolf bones. And in the middle was a
large, well fed lion.
The moral of the story:
The title of your thesis doesn't matter.
The subject doesn't matter.
The research doesn't matter.
All that matters is who your advisor is.
(Thanks Stan Kegel)
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Eva Rosenberg mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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