Humor is the Tangible Evidence of Hope

Laugh

& Everyone Wins

Learn the benefits of taking humor seriously to
manage your life better

FUNdamentally Speaking
It’s important to keep in mind the close connection between <br/><br/>
<span style="color:#ff0000;">“Learning” and “earning!”</span>
It’s important to keep in mind the close connection between

“Learning” and “earning!”

Increase your “smileage” with
Dr. Patt Schwab’s books!

All of Dr. Schwab’s books inspire readers to look inside themselves for a humorous perspective on problems and challenges. They are easy to read and loaded with fun, practical tips and examples.

Using Humor to
Cope with Change,
Work More Creatively,
And Enjoy Life!

Laughing together implies shared values and experiences. It builds strong relationships with friends, families, associates, clients and patients. As an added bonus, using humor well implies an ability to think creatively and to think on your feet. In fact, an upbeat sense of humor is considered one of the top five leadership skills required for success.

Since the thought process for humor is similar to that required for creativity. Humorous folks are often excellent problem solvers — something sorely needed in these rapidly changing times.

The books and articles on this site elaborate on the above with examples of how individuals in a wide variety of situations have effectively used humor.

As a reminder: Humor used well, is a mark of self-confidence, intelligence and an ability to connect effectively with others. Used incorrectly, it leaves a stain of ill will and incompetence that can take years to remove.

FUNdamentally Speaking
graphic 1-sharpened

7 Hints for
Using Humor at Home

7 Humor Hints for the Home
by Dr. Patt Schwab, CSP

Abundant humor is a sign of a happy, healthy home. The ability to use humor appropriately builds self confidence in children, improves their vocabulary and increases their ability to get along with their peers.
The most enjoyable part is the way you teach humor to your children: you model it!
That doesn't mean you have to act like a clown (although that's fun too), it does mean you have to create an environment where humor is respected and where
a child can share his or her humor with an
appreciative audience.
One caveat: Stay away from sarcasm and negative humor. Sarcasm is essentially disguised anger. It diminishes creativity and trust and will cut down on the amount of sharing and openness you will have with
your children.
Here, then, are seven easy ways to increase the humor in your home:
1. Ask your children a simple question such as: "What funny thing happened in school today?" or "What funny thing did you see this week?" Looking at humor through a child's eye can bring you new insights along with the joy of sharing laughter with your child.
2. Make a Joke-a-Day calendar as a family New Year’s Day Tradition. Put funny jokes, photos, stories, drawings, whatever you find or create, on all the pages. When it’s done, hang it up in the kitchen. Don't allow any peeking ahead. The first child ready for breakfast in the morning gets to be the one to tear off yesterday’s page and reveal the new day.
3. Model positive humor with your spouse and friends. Laugh at silly things, show your
appreciation for clever expressions. When your children are young, explain why you are laughing at something so that they will feel "in" on the joke.
4. Create a humor book with your child. We all know parents who write down funny things their children do—or who at least wish they had. Create a real appreciation for humor by sitting down regularly with your child and reviewing all the funny or clever things that s/he saw in the past few days. When the two of you settle on the funniest, write the incident in the humor book and let your child draw a picture to illustrate the event. In addition to sharing some wonderful time together creating a volume you will both treasure, you will also be encouraging your child to start looking for the funny, silly, creative, positive things in life.
5. As they get older, let them know that they are a part of a family legacy of laughter. Share ways you, their grandparents, aunts, or uncles used humor to problem solve. For example, my Mother told me that when she was in college she was the unfortunate recipient of an obscene phone call. She picked up the phone to hear a deep male voice say, “May I take off your panties?” All the family wordplay rushed into her brain and she blurted out, “What are you doing with them on?”
Chuckling, she told me, “I knew I won, because HE hung up on ME!
6. Do humorous things with your children: Here’s a starter list: watch TV comedy shows, play silly games, and read humorous books together; post their funniest selfies; star them in your videos; dress up the dog—or the cat, (if s/he will let you). In short, regularly do things that both you and your child have fun doing.
7. Use humor to keep your own perspective when your children threaten to drive you to distraction (or some other undesirable location). Modeling humor to prevent taking something too personally, or to help recover from a mini-disaster will aid both your resiliency and that of your child. You are the most important role model your children have. Take advantage of the situation and instill in all of you an ability to look on the positive side of life.
One friend told me that after a horrible day at work, she was fixing dinner with her three young children running wildly around the kitchen. Suddenly she realized she was missing a key ingredient in the main dish. Her frustration boiled over.
She “sweetly” borrowed the rubber chicken her son was playing with, stepped back to the kitchen counter and took her frustration out by repeatedly banging it on the counter! She told me that it didn’t take more than six or seven bangs before she and her, suddenly well-behaved children, were all laughing hysterically.

graphic 2

7 Humor Hints for Workplace
Leaders and Aspiring Leaders

7 Humor Hints Leaders and Aspiring Leaders
Need to Know
by Dr. Patt Schwab, CSP

We tend to trust people who make us laugh or smile. Laughter connects us at a visceral level and implies common experiences and values. We perceive such individuals as “safe” and “like-minded,” and feel more comfortable confiding in them.
As most of us know, humor can also be used to belittle someone, undermine a situation or win an argument. While these humor practices seldom provide long-term workplace benefits or build a cohesive team, it is important to acknowledge and respect the dark side of humor’s power.
If you know what people in your organization are laughing about, you know what is going on. The kind of humor they use will tell you how healthy—or unhealthy—your organization is, and whether its real core values match those posted on the company website. The following Humor Hint List, identifies a few of the
insights a leader gains by paying attention to their workplace humor.
7 Humor Hints Leaders and Aspiring Leaders
Need to Know

1. There is humor in every workplace. If you don’t see any humor in your office, it means that it has gone underground. And if you don’t know about it, you are cut off from the pulse of your organization.
 Underground humor is often sarcastic, often directed at specific individuals or company values and seldom supportive of good service or high quality.
2. Humor is knowledge. Are the jokes you do hear positive or negative? Are they about service or quality? Do they strike at unions, clients, competitors, patients or management? Are they about one department, division or project? Do they include people or exclude them?
 In isolation, jokes don’t mean much, but a rash of jokes on the same topic, from different sources, is worth attending to. If the recurring topic is difficult customers, it could indicate that your customer service policy (or customer service reward system) needs tweaking. If the jokes are about another department or a staff group, it may mean that a personality conflict or a systemic issue is undermining communication, and, as a result, productivity. If they are about wasting time in meetings, it may be a clue that you need to upgrade your
meeting skills.
3. Humor is usually initiated by the higher
status person.

An old maxim goes: If the joke you told wasn't funny, yet everyone laughed—you're the boss!
In a work environment, the boss’ sense of humor (or lack thereof) is inevitably reflected by the staff. They not only laugh at the boss’s jokes, but often try to tell similar ones to their own staff and colleagues. Ideally, they laugh because the boss is genuinely funny. Be advised, however, that in some settings, they laugh because failing, or worse yet, refusing, to laugh at the boss’s jokes can be seen as insubordination. At the other end of the continuum, more than one person in a leadership position has interpreted a subordinate’s wise cracks in a meeting as a threat or leadership challenge. If the boss is male and the subordinate is a female or a younger male, the sense of threat often increases.
4. Humor is not inherently good or bad it’s all in how it is used. We’ve all seen a well-timed humorous remark blow an idea, regardless of its merit, out of the water. We’ve also seen a similarly timed one ensure the acceptance of an idea—or at least extinguish debate on any competing proposals. That’s a sample of the power that humor, wielded by an expert, can exert.
5. Humor can speed or slow change. Humor that is sexist, racist or homophobic, or humor that is against outside people or ideas, is usually designed to maintain the status quo. It reinforces stereotypes, limits thinking to gender-or ethnically-based roles, and makes staff afraid to take the risks that come with “thinking outside the box.” Humor that is supportive and inclusive invites change by helping to create an environment that encourages risk taking and the creative problem solving that accompanies it.
6. Be careful about using sarcasm—especially when you’re the boss. Sarcasm can be fun, no two ways about it! The subtle put-down, the well-timed eye roll, the double entendre that, when directed at someone else, gives us an “in crowd” feeling—these can be
addictive sensations.
The problem is that sarcasm creates an “us” verses “them” dynamic. It is always divisive. In the workplace, it can undermine morale and loyalty—an effect that is amplified when there is a power difference. Sarcastic remarks between boss and subordinate, physician and patient, or clerk and customer, often carry far more weight than their initiator intended. Of all forms of humor, a sarcastic remark gone wrong is the most difficult to recover from. I am not saying to ban sarcasm from your life entirely, I’m just urging you to restrict sarcasm to interactions between “consenting adults.”
7. You don’t need to be a clown to increase workplace humor. If you are in a leadership role, and don't see yourself as inordinately funny, an easy way to create laughter in your workplace is to support the humor of others around you. Build a creative, positive workplace simply by providing a framework that encourages the playful, inventive, supportive side of your staff, colleagues, clients, customers or patients to emerge.
Ask them to share their humor with you. Laugh at their jokes. Leaven the action with a leading line like: “Tell me something funny that happened to you recently,” or “Tell me about a success you had, or saw, this week.”
Allow them to create the humor, and then sit back and enjoy it with them. Just remember, as a leader, the humor you respond to will be emulated by your team. Be sure that you respond to humor that supports the goals you want to achieve.

Dr. Patt Schwab, a former HR Manager and university administrator, is an international speaker and author on the topic of workplace humor. The above concepts are expanded upon in her book, Leave a Mark, Not a Stain! What every manager needs to know about using humor in the workplace. You can find it on the “Books” page of this website.

graphic 1-sharpened

7 Hints for
Using Humor at Home

7 Humor Hints for the Home
by Dr. Patt Schwab, CSP

Abundant humor is a sign of a happy, healthy home. The ability to use humor appropriately builds self confidence in children, improves their vocabulary and increases their ability to get along with their peers.
The most enjoyable part is the way you teach humor to your children: you model it!
That doesn't mean you have to act like a clown (although that's fun too), it does mean you have to create an environment where humor is respected and where
a child can share his or her humor with an appreciative audience.
One caveat: Stay away from sarcasm and negative humor. Sarcasm is essentially disguised anger. It diminishes creativity and trust and will cut down on the amount of sharing and openness you will have with your children.
Here, then, are seven easy ways to increase the humor in your home:
1. Ask your children a simple question such as: "What funny thing happened in school today?" or "What funny thing did you see this week?" Looking at humor through a child's eye can bring you new insights along with the joy of sharing laughter with your child.
2. Make a Joke-a-Day calendar as a family New Year’s Day Tradition. Put funny jokes, photos, stories, drawings, whatever you find or create, on all the pages. When it’s done, hang it up in the kitchen. Don't allow any peeking ahead. The first child ready for breakfast in the morning gets to be the one to tear off yesterday’s page and reveal the new day.
3. Model positive humor with your spouse and friends. Laugh at silly things, show your appreciation for clever expressions. When your children are young, explain why you are laughing at something so that they will feel "in" on the joke.
4. Create a humor book with your child. We all know parents who write down funny things their children do—or who at least wish they had. Create a real appreciation for humor by sitting down regularly with your child and reviewing all the funny or clever things that s/he saw in the past few days. When the two of you settle on the funniest, write the incident in the humor book and let your child draw a picture to illustrate the event. In addition to sharing some wonderful time together creating a volume you will both treasure, you will also be encouraging your child to start looking for the funny, silly, creative, positive things in life.
5. As they get older, let them know that they are a part of a family legacy of laughter. Share ways you, their grandparents, aunts, or uncles used humor to problem solve. For example, my Mother told me that when she was in college she was the unfortunate recipient of an obscene phone call. She picked up the phone to hear a deep male voice say, “May I take off your panties?” All the family wordplay rushed into her brain and she blurted out, “What are you doing with them on?”
Chuckling, she told me, “I knew I won, because HE hung up on ME!
6. Do humorous things with your children: Here’s a starter list: watch TV comedy shows, play silly games, and read humorous books together; post their funniest selfies; star them in your videos; dress up the dog—or the cat, (if s/he will let you). In short, regularly do things that both you and your child have fun doing.
7. Use humor to keep your own perspective when your children threaten to drive you to distraction (or some other undesirable location). Modeling humor to prevent taking something too personally, or to help recover from a mini-disaster will aid both your resiliency and that of your child. You are the most important role model your children have. Take advantage of the situation and instill in all of you an ability to look on the positive side of life.
One friend told me that after a horrible day at work, she was fixing dinner with her three young children running wildly around the kitchen. Suddenly she realized she was missing a key ingredient in the main dish. Her frustration boiled over.
She “sweetly” borrowed the rubber chicken her son was playing with, stepped back to the kitchen counter and took her frustration out by repeatedly banging it on the counter! She told me that it didn’t take more than six or seven bangs before she and her, suddenly well-behaved children, were all laughing hysterically.

graphic 2

7 Humor Hints for Workplace
Leaders and Aspiring Leaders

7 Humor Hints Leaders and Aspiring Leaders
Need to Know
by Dr. Patt Schwab, CSP

We tend to trust people who make us laugh or smile. Laughter connects us at a visceral level and implies common experiences and values. We perceive such individuals as “safe” and “like-minded,” and feel more comfortable confiding in them.
As most of us know, humor can also be used to belittle someone, undermine a situation or win an argument. While these humor practices seldom provide long-term workplace benefits or build a cohesive team, it is important to acknowledge and respect the dark side of humor’s power.
If you know what people in your organization are laughing about, you know what is going on. The kind of humor they use will tell you how healthy—or unhealthy—your organization is, and whether its real core values match those posted on the company website. The following Humor Hint List, identifies a few of the insights a leader gains by paying attention to their workplace humor.
7 Humor Hints Leaders and Aspiring Leaders Need to Know
1. There is humor in every workplace. If you don’t see any humor in your office, it means that it has gone underground. And if you don’t know about it, you are cut off from the pulse of your organization.
Underground humor is often sarcastic, often directed at specific individuals or company values and seldom supportive of good service or high quality.
2. Humor is knowledge. Are the jokes you do hear positive or negative? Are they about service or quality? Do they strike at unions, clients, competitors, patients or management? Are they about one department, division or project? Do they include people or exclude them?
In isolation, jokes don’t mean much, but a rash of jokes on the same topic, from different sources, is worth attending to. If the recurring topic is difficult customers, it could indicate that your customer service policy (or customer service reward system) needs tweaking. If the jokes are about another department or a staff group, it may mean that a personality conflict or a systemic issue is undermining communication, and, as a result, productivity. If they are about wasting time in meetings, it may be a clue that you need to upgrade your meeting skills.
3. Humor is usually initiated by the higher status person.
An old maxim goes: If the joke you told wasn't funny, yet everyone laughed—you're the boss!
In a work environment, the boss’ sense of humor (or lack thereof) is inevitably reflected by the staff. They not only laugh at the boss’s jokes, but often try to tell similar ones to their own staff and colleagues. Ideally, they laugh because the boss is genuinely funny. Be advised, however, that in some settings, they laugh because failing, or worse yet, refusing, to laugh at the boss’s jokes can be seen as insubordination. At the other end of the continuum, more than one person in a leadership position has interpreted a subordinate’s wise cracks in a meeting as a threat or leadership challenge. If the boss is male and the subordinate is a female or a younger male, the sense of threat often increases.
4. Humor is not inherently good or bad it’s all in how it is used. We’ve all seen a well-timed humorous remark blow an idea, regardless of its merit, out of the water. We’ve also seen a similarly timed one ensure the acceptance of an idea—or at least extinguish debate on any competing proposals. That’s a sample of the power that humor, wielded by an expert, can exert.
5. Humor can speed or slow change. Humor that is sexist, racist or homophobic, or humor that is against outside people or ideas, is usually designed to maintain the status quo. It reinforces stereotypes, limits thinking to gender-or ethnically-based roles, and makes staff afraid to take the risks that come with “thinking outside the box.” Humor that is supportive and inclusive invites change by helping to create an environment that encourages risk taking and the creative problem solving that accompanies it.
6. Be careful about using sarcasm—especially when you’re the boss. Sarcasm can be fun, no two ways about it! The subtle put-down, the well-timed eye roll, the double entendre that, when directed at someone else, gives us an “in crowd” feeling—these can be addictive sensations.
The problem is that sarcasm creates an “us” verses “them” dynamic. It is always divisive. In the workplace, it can undermine morale and loyalty—an effect that is amplified when there is a power difference. Sarcastic remarks between boss and subordinate, physician and patient, or clerk and customer, often carry far more weight than their initiator intended. Of all forms of humor, a sarcastic remark gone wrong is the most difficult to recover from. I am not saying to ban sarcasm from your life entirely, I’m just urging you to restrict sarcasm to interactions between “consenting adults.”
7. You don’t need to be a clown to increase workplace humor. If you are in a leadership role, and don't see yourself as inordinately funny, an easy way to create laughter in your workplace is to support the humor of others around you. Build a creative, positive workplace simply by providing a framework that encourages the playful, inventive, supportive side of your staff, colleagues, clients, customers or patients to emerge.
Ask them to share their humor with you. Laugh at their jokes. Leaven the action with a leading line like: “Tell me something funny that happened to you recently,” or “Tell me about a success you had, or saw, this week.”
Allow them to create the humor, and then sit back and enjoy it with them. Just remember, as a leader, the humor you respond to will be emulated by your team. Be sure that you respond to humor that supports the goals you want to achieve.

Dr. Patt Schwab, a former HR Manager and university administrator, is an international speaker and author on the topic of workplace humor. The above concepts are expanded upon in her book, Leave a Mark, Not a Stain! What every manager needs to know about using humor in the workplace. You can find it on the “Books” page of this website.

Podcast

FUNdamentally Speaking

A Link to the podcast 3: “The Funny Side. . .” with Dorothy Wilhelm & Patt

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor…

Read More
FUNdamentally Speaking

A Link to the podcast 2: “The Funny Side. . .” with Dorothy Wilhelm & Patt

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor…

Read More
FUNdamentally Speaking

A Link to the podcast 1: “The Funny Side. . .” with Dorothy Wilhelm & Patt

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor…

Read More