Funny? Don’t make me laugh!

I got a call yesterday from a training company trying to sell me a space on a course…

Naturally, it was the last remaining place and, because the programme is running next week, I could have my slot for half price… now, would I prefer to go on Wednesday’s or Thursday’s programme?

The title of the course was intriguing: ‘Improve your presentation with comedy’.

Well, that made me laugh straight away.

Although there’s something appealing about starting a course with a couple of fat penguins: ice breakers.  (C’mon, I know you sniggered), or with:

A man knocked on my door the other morning and said he wanted to talk to me about my carpets.  That’s all I needed: a Johoovers witness!

No?  How about this one?

I work for MI6.  I caught one of my colleagues pointing a hairdryer at my duvet, the other day.  I said, ‘don’t blow my cover!’

Okay, okay.  I’ll stop and let you get your breath back from all the laughing.

Although I like humour in a course, I don’t think it works if it’s planned… if the jokes come, fine, but if they have to be forced, leave them out… this is training, after all!

I recently went on a half day course (the 1st of 3, if you liked the initial offering) which was supposed to be about reading people and using clever mind tricks in business.

It turned out the guy who ran the course was a comedian (sort of) who had an entertaining act but was trying to force that act into a business context… square peg, round hole springs to mind.

Now, if I’d gone to see his act (and he called it an ‘act’ throughout the course) as an entertainment I’d have been quite happy.  But it was simply the guy’s act, with the word ‘audience’ removed and ‘customer’ written in, in its place.

It didn’t work as a course.

I was called a few days before the second ‘act’ by the guy’s PA asking if I wanted to book on.  When I said to her it just wasn’t business focused enough, she promised me that the 2nd and 3rd programmes were very different.

Sorry, too little, too late.

And that’s the problem with mixing the 2 things up… comedy and training do go together, but only if they aren’t forced.

After all, sometimes a trainer has to deliver difficult messages and they can’t really do this if they’ve been a comedian.

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