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a blog by Chris Barrow

The absurdity of reality

A client asked me “how come you know so many jokes and can use so much humour in your workshops and your coaching?” I explained that I don’t tell jokes – in fact I am truly hopeless at telling jokes. But I do use lots of humour – that’s correct. And I’ve learned to observe how “stand-up” comics function. The funniest stories they tell are those based on the absurdity of our reality. How absurd it can be to sit in a 20-mile line of traffic, to receive appalling customer service, to deal with an angry and unreasonable client, to drag a drunken teenager to hospital. They are all serious situations that we can laugh about afterwards – and that’s where the humour becomes the method by which we connect with our audience. Because they see themselves in our story – and then realise that “this guy is just like me” – and then they connect with you. My client was about to address a large gathering of financial services professionals and wanted to know how best to connect quickly. I advised him to “connect with their quiet desperations.” And to use humour to connect.

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