trainers see humour in their sessions as a ‘nice to have’
component. “How much
fun did you have?” does not appear on many feedback forms.
Yet, to train people in today’s world without
entertaining them as well is so difficult – no matter what the
topic – that humour should be a ‘must have’ in every
training session. This
is, sadly, not the case in
today and it’s because of several myths.
Here are three of the most common.
#1 – Adding fun detracts from the content.
“I’m a trainer - not an entertainer!”
- Fun is not part of the content, it’s part of the process.
We all know that a
successful training session can depend more on the process than
the content. The
founder of Toastmasters International, Dr Ralph Smedley said
“people learn most in moments of enjoyment,” and any
experienced trainer would agree; yet so many trainers have an
‘issue’ with the concept of entertaining.
“This is great learning that is interesting in itself. I
shouldn’t have to waste time and effort making it more
entertaining,” wail the purists.
nowadays have become used to having information presented to them
in an entertainment format. Even
the nightly news – arguably the most ‘serious’ program in
any station’s schedule – is designed to be entertainment.
If you don’t present your information to them in a way
that truly engages them it is likely to be a waste of time.
#2 – Adding fun devalues the training
– Adding humour makes the information more likely to be heard,
believed and remembered.
Cleese said “If I can make you laugh with me, you like me
better, which makes you more open to my ideas.
And if I can get you to laugh at a particular point that I
make, by laughing at it, you acknowledge it’s truth.”
In this way, use of humour to reinforce your point makes
you a more convincing trainer.
has also been shown that the two things that people are most
likely to remember are a shocking statistic or a funny line.
(This is because they want to remember it to tell their
family, friends and acquaintances.)
Linking your key points to something funny means they are
more likely to be retained.
#3 – Adding humour means telling jokes (and can make the trainer
look foolish if they don’t work)
– Joke telling is only one of many ways of creating humour.
are few of us with the memory and delivery skills to be great joke
tellers. We all bring
humour into our everyday interactions with others – but mostly
it is not by telling jokes. Find
out what you do in your ‘everyday’ humour (for example,
wordplay, satire, storytelling) and use this style – not the
joke that made you laugh the most.
This way you can be more certain that it will work – and
won’t make you look foolish.
is not so much something you say or do as an atmosphere you
create. When this
atmosphere of fun is established, the humour is then generated by
others in the room - and this results in a training session that
is more engaging, participative and enjoyable. And
the fastest way to create this atmosphere is to show them that,
while you take your training role very seriously, you don’t take
next time your planning a training session remember…make it fun
or they’ll forget it!
Other articles: In-Flight
Fun Fun in 'The Fridge' Hospitality
Humour It's like baking a cake! 16
Ways to Bring Fun to Your Workplace
These are examples
of the value of humour in business, the subject of my keynote
presentation "Bottom-Line Humour – making fun a profit
factor". I also conduct training seminars for staff in Humour in