Friday, February 28, 2014

Half-life Of Humor

There is always something that happens during the day that throws you a little bit off. To a certain extent, everyone experiences this on a daily basis. Some a little more, some a little less. This is how we gradually learn how to deal with those instances and move forward without much interruption. However, the real challenge, at least for me, is making sure those moments don’t interfere with the client. The best solution for me was simply to make the client laugh.

Making them laugh eases the impact of whatever news that you have for them. It makes the bad or unpleasant news a little more palatable and makes the good news that much better. Sometimes it can even do wonders for minor errors in a document, email, or other collateral during the draft stages. This is also where creativity comes into play. Basically, you can either take errors at face value or you can transform them into a joke. When done well it can be a great thing that makes everyone’s day better if for only a minute or two.

With that said, there is a line that you can’t cross and you have to know what kind of humor that will work with each person. If a situation gets to a certain point a joke or simple moment of attempted levity can do much more harm than good. Also, the same negative impact can occur when there is a complete mismatch in sense of humor. Thankfully, I have, thus far, been able to match up the humorous comments with the individuals with a fair amount of accuracy. Except for George from Georgia but he is a real prick. There have also been people like George that I don’t even attempt to go that route as the chance for success is far too slim.

The half-life of a joke is also something to consider. Today I made a comment which was received well. I used it once in the morning in response to an innocent typo in a document we were reviewing and everyone in the email chain received it well. At the end of the day, there was an opportunity to neatly fit the premise into another email with the client. It worked again. However, that joke is now spent. Most likely, I will not be able to continue the world play without it seeming forced.

Sometimes you just have to know when to stop!