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How To Use Humor Successfully In Your Business Communications

For generations people have been saying that laughter is good medicine. And now the scientists have taken an interest it turns out great-grandma was right. The boffins have discovered that laughter releases helpful goodies in the body which boost your immune system. In fact the therapeutic benefits of laughter are now being harnessed by academia and the business community into laughter workshops and other formalized chuckle sessions. Get the workers laughing and you raise productivity, so it seems.

However it is extremely easy to get humor wrong. And a joke that's sent to someone who doesn't see the funny side will create more ill health through raised blood pressure than a few laughs could ever cure.

So what's the answer? How do we harness humor and make it work for us, not against us?

People often say that the internet's international nature makes it an unsuitable environment for humor for fear of it not translating across national boundaries - and inadvertently causing offense. But there are a couple of simple rules which - although not universal panaceas that always work - can help you use humor without risk.

Use humor about situations, not people. If you think about it, the butt of many jokes and other humor is a person or group of people, so it's hardly surprising that offense is caused. The more extreme types are obvious - mother-in-law jokes, blonde jokes, women jokes, men jokes - but there are many more subtle ones too.

Then there are the nationality gags. I remember in one year hearing exactly the same joke (in three different languages) told by an American about the Polish, by a Canadian about Newfoundlanders, by a French person about Belgians, by a French-speaking Belgian about the Flemish, and by a Flemish person about the Dutch.

Obviously most humor is going to involve people in one way or another. But as long as the butt of the joke is a situation or set of circumstances, not the people, you're far less likely to upset anyone. And there is an added advantage here. Whoever they are and wherever they come from, people will usually identify with a situation. Take this one for example...

Some people are driving along at night and are stopped by a police car. The officer goes to the driver and warns him that one of the rear lights on his SUV isn't working. The driver jumps out and looks terribly upset. The officer reassures him that he won't get a ticket, it's just a warning, so there's no problem. "Oh yes there is a problem," says the man as he rushes towards the back of the car. "if you could see my rear lights it means I've lost my trailer."

As the butt of the joke is the broken rear light and the loss of the trailer, not the policeman or the driver, no-one can be offended. And most people can identify with how that would feel.

The other key issue with humor is wordplays, puns, and anything else that's based on figurative speech, slang, or jargon. The short answer is they don't work internationally. However if the play or double entendre is in the concept rather than the words, it probably will work.

These may be funny to us, but would not be understood by anyone who is not a good English speaker because there is a play on the words:

* Deja moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.
* The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

These, however, probably would be understood because the humor is in the concept, not in the words themselves:

* You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.
* The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was.

Overall, I think it's wise to use humor as a spicy condiment in your business comms. And just as you would with the chili powder, use it in moderation if you don't know the audience well ... and if you know they have a very sensitive palate, don't use it at all!

Canadian-born Suzan St Maur is an international business writer and author based in the United Kingdom. In addition to her consultancy work for clients in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia, she contributes articles to more than 150 business websites and publications worldwide, and has written eleven published books. Her latest eBooks, "The MAMBA Way To Make Your Words Sell" and "Get Yourself Published" and available as PDF downloads from BookShaker.com.

T o subscribe to her free biweekly business writing tips eZine, TIPZ from SUZE, click here.

(c) Suzan St Maur 2003 - 2005

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In The News:

Tracking the progress of the third party testing we at PES are coordinating along with U-Plug Products LLC, of their 2 kW U-Plug magnet motor that is a 24"x6" portable cylinder weighing 20 pounds, expected to cost 2,000 USD. We want to run it three times longer (21 hours) than what the best batteries available could provide. (PESWiki; February-April 2016)
Pre-launch video announces a new LENR website coming March 1, 2016 at http://LookingForHeat.com The video is very well done as an entertaining piece that hopefully will go viral. (Free Energy Blog; February 21, 2016)
It's not easy to find a qualified testing agency that is also willing to sign off on something that appears to defy our existing understanding of the laws of physics. U-Plug has agreed to allow for a group of us scientists, including at least 3 PhDs to go test their unit and publish our report. (PESN; February 20, 2016)
So that this is quite clear, this is a test on a Regular Torch. NOT the ELFE flashlight. This is to compare them. 2 x NiMH AA 1.2v Battery's in a Regular Torch with a Halogen Bulb. Load is 2.8v and 0.85amps. (PESN; February 17, 2016)
Video explains the scientific principles behind how the ELFE flashlight harnesses endless free energy from the environment (Earth's magnetic field), which works better in some regions than others. It also shows the insides the torch. Uses the word "antennae," as one of the components. (PESN; February 14, 2016)
"The OPhone contains a capacitor that directly powers our phone. During extensive use this capacitor may become discharged, however this capacitor is being constantly trickle charged by Orbo. So after a period of time the capacitor will be recharged and the phone will be functional again. In essence the phone is charging itself." (Free Energy Blog; February 13, 2016)
The company that has figured out how to harness the earth's magnetic field to produce usable power and has been selling the ELFE flashlight (two more customer reports), is now developing a 3 kW generator. In two weeks, they are holding a business meeting for international distributors. (PESN; February 12, 2016)
Illinois company is gearing up to manufacture a 2 kW (115 volts, 17.3 amps) magnet motor that is load-following, portable, 24"x6" tube, weighing 20 pounds, very quiet, with 3-year warranty but expected to last at least 20 years with zero maintenance. Third-party tested. MSRP 2000 USD, beginning March, 2016, through distributors. (PESWiki; February 11, 2016)
The government agent who worked on this technology five decades ago, that is similar to Professor Steven E. Jones' Joule Ringer, thinks it is conceivable that we could eventually scale this solid state technology up to have a device the size and price of an air conditioner providing 20 kw. (PESWiki; February 9, 2016)
Nagendra Singh in Mumbai, India, informs us that they have built five of these and have two running for customers presently, in the 40 kVA range. "Presently it is too [expensive], costing 3200 USD per kva below 30 kva." (PESWiki; February 8, 2016)
The SunCell is described as a solid state "Sun in a Box." A 200 kW module would weigh around 250 pounds, with energy production cost being around 1 cent/kwh, so return on investment could be ten days. They are expected to be available commercially by Q1, 2017. (PESN; January 6, 2015)
"Today I received my Elfe Flashlight and it works. Time will tell if it meets the claims of automatically recharging, when depleted. If it holds, the claims a real breakthrough in FE technologie would have been accomplished." -- German customer (PESWiki; February 6, 2016)
The phone battery indicator stays near full even with heavy usage throughout the day. (The battery is charged by the internal OCube that pulls energy from the wheelwork of nature, solid state). (PESWiki; February 5, 2016)
The capacity of the Proton-3ND (Proton -3 Nano Diffusion) battery is projected to be 44 times the capacity of lithium batteries. Electric vehicles with these batteries would have more power and much more mileage at no extra charge. (PESN; January 4, 2016)
HH2 water fuel cell creates pure hydrogen off a 9-volt battery. This was a big diesel HH2 cell that was tested on a 16-liter Cat engine for CARB testing; yet it ran on very low amps and a low 9 volts. (PESWiki; February 3, 2016)
A former U.S. Government worker describes his effort to bring to public awareness (by highlighting things presently in the public domain) energy and anti-gravity technologies that the government had operational 50 years ago but has kept from the public. (PESN; February 2, 2016)
Imagine an incandescent bulb that is actually more efficient than LEDs! Well, it actually exists (MIT) and it does so by recycling light. (Free Energy Blog; February 2, 2016)
SMBC-Comics.com has posted a fun spoof on our skeptics. (Free Energy Blog; February 1, 2016)
"OK, so a lot of people are asking what's the difference between an Orbo power cell and traditional batteries." Batteries store energy, Orbo generates energy, then trickle charges a lithium ion battery.] (Free Energy Blog; February 1, 2016)
Mr. Keshe is as misleading in the field of free energy as he is regarding me. That has been my experience the years I've been exposedto his work. He takes something and blows it so far out of proportion that it barely resembles the fact from which it was extrapolated into infinity. He demands: "Close PESWiki now." (PESWiki; January 31, 2016)
They have achieved solid state operation using an electromagnetic pump to spray the molten silver between the electrodes for the 1000/second continuous pulsing for continuous power production. (Free Energy Blog; January 29, 2016)

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