If you make me laugh–odds are I’ll do business with you. It’s not scientific nor is it intentional but as I look back at the largest business transactions in my career they were a result of somehow making someone laugh along the way and vice-versa! There are plenty of successful people that are serious and rigid, so I figure there’s room enough for someone like me. I guess I’d say my challenge to sales people everywhere is–if I’m laughing, I’m buying so make me laugh!
I decided to do some research on laughter in business and found a firm that actually hires themselves out as laughter coaches. I want that gig! Here are some of the results companies that engage in laughter therapy promise. And while I don’t need scientific facts for my conclusion, I liked what I read about their claims for laughter:
- Reduces mental and physical stress
- Increases energy levels & productivity
- Increases emotional intelligence
- Improves communication & teamwork
- Improves leadership skills
- Enhances innovation and peak performance
- Stretches muscles, burns calories and serves as a natural energy booster
Here are some more facts that made me realize just how important laughter really is for our health and our pocket books:
Up to 90 percent of the doctor visits in the USA may be triggered by a stress-related illness, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Today’s business demands have put a tremendous strain on our global workforce. Longer hours coupled with fewer resources are pushing more and more management and employees to their breaking point. Combined with the need to achieve work-life balance stress is taking a tremendous financial and personal toll on US business profitability:
- $300 billion per year or $7,500 each employee is paid out for stress-related compensation claims
- 1 million workers went on stress-related disability in 2004
- 75% of doctor visits are for stress-related conditions
- Eight of the top 10 prescription drugs marketed today are for stress-related conditions
- Stress is directly associated with depression, anxiety, asthma, alcohol/drug addictions and other conditions that affect the nervous and immune systems.
- Approximately 100 million Americans suffer stress related from chronic health conditions: heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer.
Job stress has become a common and costly problem in the American workplace, leaving few workers untouched.
So if laughter can prevent some of these illnesses or at the very least reduce stress, why aren’t we laughing more? THAT I don’t know the answer to, but here’s my call to action–let’s start laughing. What if every day at noon you put a reminder on your calendar to pop up and say, “remember to laugh.” Then you’ll have permission (and an appointment) to laugh. Or smile or something to change wherever your mind might be to a softer, happier place.
I’m committed. I’ll flag my calendar every day for 30 days; the only time I won’t laugh at high noon is when it would be inappropriate (the restroom, mass, funeral…you get the idea). If I’m at lunch with a client, I promise to laugh. I’ll report the results, but most importantly I encourage each of you to conduct your own experiment in laughter. It can’t hurt…unless of course you do so much your sides ache. Either way, if laughter is good for your mind and body it has to be good for business. And in these times ANYTHING that’s good for business is, well, good for business!