Author: Cherie Kerr:
Jim Doody, Illust.
You’ve Tried ‘Excellence?’ Now try Exuberance
Cherie Kerr teaches professionals how to “lighten up.” But for those of us unable to attend a seminar, Funny Business, summarizes her approach to maintaining peace of mind by offsetting daily and unavoidable stress with good doses of healthy laughter. A more elegant phrasing is--in the author’s words-- “For every down experience on the job, we need an up one to achieve balance.”
And Kerr should know how to create these “up” experiences. She worked as professional comedian, actor, writer, and director. She teaches other actors and writers how to improvise, how to be extemporaneously funny. An entrepreneur, owner/founder of a west coast public relations firm, and a mother of three, Kerr even finds time to teach industrial, governmental, and academic leaders how to incorporate humor into their workplaces.
So when this board-level comedy consultant explains the nuts and bolts of applying humor as a motivational and communicative tool she does so in a narrative voice that is both easy to read, and hilarious. Several of the chapters have been tested on live audiences. Early in her quest for balance, Kerr sought answers from science. A “highly-renowned and noted professor of pathology, psychiatry, and psychology” describes humor as an activity that suppresses the “paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of the hypothalamus, and the locus coercleus.” Winking at the reader, the narrator responds “Wow. It’s that easy!” Then the vocabulary slips back into more comfortable zones with references to “happy hormones,” the “humor muscle,” and the “lockdown lever.”
The delivery, quite often in the voice of a smooth stand up comic, keeps the reader alert and lubricates the transfer of a deadly serious message. A practiced sense of humor can regulate a person’s vital signs, make concentration easier, and soothe stressful workplace relations. But senior managers, eager to coax or cajole subordinates toward exertions beyond last fiscal quarter’s performance, should also take note. When employees are laughing, their stress levels come down. As stress levels abate, more nervous energy can be channeled into creative solutions including highly profitable innovations and improvements to long term productivity.
So your hard working subordinates have planned, organized, and fretted over their next major sales presentation. Everyone knows their part, and everything that can be foreseen has its own contingency plan. Perhaps a quick trip to the bookstore--or a visit to the company supplies locker—would be in order. Make Funny Business a priority read. But before you distribute this delightful book to your officemates, you may want to read it yourself, preserving the punch lines for your own routines.
The above review was contributed by: Joe Petrulionis: Joe reads, writes, and teaches the history of ideas and he emphasizes the political and cultural context in which these philosophical, scientific, and artistic notions emerge. Joe has a recent Masters Degree in History and is in recovery from a previous career and graduate specialty in finance and economics.