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What You Need Right Now - This May Surprise You

What You Need Right Now - This May Surprise You

January 08, 2009

Have you noticed something interesting lately? The holiday decorations seem to have disappeared earlier than at any time I can recall. That holiday spirit seems all but gone too. And the new year revelry feels like it occurred 9 months ago - not 9 days ago.

As a country right now, we're in no mood to celebrate. There just doesn't seem much to celebrate.

That's why I really believe what we need right now is the chance to laugh.

As adults, we are horrible at this! Even in good times, we don't do this nearly enough.

Let me ask you this. How many times do you think a person laughs in a typical day? 30 times? 50 times? 60 times?

Try 15 times a day! People are carrying around so much pain and frustration - even in good times - that they've almost forgotten how to laugh! Compare that to a child. Do you how many times a child laughs in a typical day? There's actual research on this. Children laugh 460 times a day!

Isn't that incredible? But here's what I'm also finding.

People are looking for a reason to laugh and smile. Here in Baltimore, you can't get go anywhere without running into someone wearing a Baltimore Ravens football jersey, coat or hat. It really is amazing to see. Earlier in the season, no one expected them to even finish the year with a winning season. But they surprised everyone and are now in the playoffs! Everyone it seems is smiling about the success of the Ravens. I'm sure the same thing is happening in my wife's hometown in Philly!

People want a reason to smile and have fun. What a great way to connect with your prospects and customers! I always talk about how important it is to tap into the emotions of your prospects to get them to act. But what if you can make your prospects laugh or smile, right now?

The secret to laugh more is ...

Don't take yourself so seriously. Tom and Ray Magliozzi were masters of not taking themselves seriously and turning into a big business with a huge following. They were better known as "Click and Clack" and were hosts of National Public Radio's popular show, "Car Talk." They were hilarious and if you've never heard them before you owe it to yourself to listen in for a much-needed laugh. 

People loved to listen to them, not because they both went to Ivy League schools and gave advice to callers about their car problems, but because they were able to make fun of one another and themselves. They disarmed people by telling listeners, "you've wasted a perfectly good hour listening to car talk." It's a wonderful case in point that the content is practically second to the presentation. The product was the presentation!

In one show, Paul from Bartow, Pa. called because the electric brakes on his cattle trailer weren't working correctly. Tom and Ray speculated for a few minutes about how electric brakes really work and Ray admited, "It's pretty clear that we don't know what the hell we're talking about."

Unable to give him an answer, Tom said to the caller, "You sound like a wonderful, caring individual - why can't these cows walk to their destination? I mean, what's wrong with them?"

Other callers asked about the proper etiquette for pumping gas and whether to get a mechanic or exorcist to fix a pair of windshield wipers that seem to have a mind of their own. One woman called to find out the best way to get rid of her husband's "redneck gear" so she can move her Miata to the other side of the garage. And one of my favorites: "Should I start printing up new resumes now that I've got a quarter stuck in my boss' seatbelt lock or can I fix it with Superglue?"

They had fun on what they describe as their "lousy show" and their listeners laughed along with them - but more often at them!

It wasn't always fun and that was a mistake they made early in their careers. They were too serious. Ray admited that they thought people wanted sensible information about cars. That helped them get their start. But when they started having fun with it and stopped taking themselves so seriously, that's when they really gained national exposure and their business exploded.

So what can you do to make your prospects laugh? How can you make yourself laugh more? I think we could all use a bit more right now.

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,