It’s a funny ol’ life!
They say laughter is the best medicine and I would tend to agree when it comes to helping our clients change for the better.
I recently ran a “Light up and Laugh” Workshop for this very reason. My aim was to focus on one of the elements that make NLP change workers stand out from the rest. The first picture above is of us all before the workshop and the second one is afterward. Bit of a difference eh?
One of the reasons Richard Bandler’s work is so effective, is not only due to the techniques, but because of his ability to make his clients laugh. We all know as practitioners that ‘State’ is paramount and fundamental. To be able to go first into the ‘States’ we want our clients to go access is essential.
The Light Up and Laugh workshop focused on the ways we could access a state of playful laughter albeit with the serious intent of helping clients over their issues and into more resourceful States.
Very often, people are a little bit stiff when they first turn up for a class, but Karen, my lovely funny co-trainer comedienne, was able to loosen the class up immediately with exercises and demonstrations of humour.
The group immediately felt comfortable with each other and were having fun within the first 20 minutes. By the end of the course, we had achieved much more than we thought we could, with each of us performing our own ‘standup’ 3 minute demonstration of humour to the group. It was amazing to see how people had found their inner comedian and were so willing and able to make others laugh.
As we discussed earlier on, people often find making people laugh difficult, especially when clients come to them with ‘serious’ issues, for fear of offending them or having it misconstrued as not taking their client’s problems seriously.
We worked on ways that could be used to install humour respectfully. Being sensitive, we decided that it would be easy for a coach/NLP-er to do.
One example we practiced was exaggerating the problem, so that even the client thought it was ridiculous. The idea was not to ‘force’ them to laugh but to help get them into a light and humorous State so they could be more resourceful in their thinking. Then the practitioner can add in more humour and take the client along.
One of the things we noticed when Karen was demonstrating how the professionals do it, is that some of us were laughing at her jokes on the inside even before we had actually laughed out loud.
This insight helped us to understand that, as long as you are in a playful laughing state, your clients may well be laughing along even if you don’t see any verifiable evidence on the outside of how they are feeling. So you might only be a ‘one liner’ or a ‘silly gesture or sound’ away from the moment you get them to let their inner laugh come out.
Most people were surprised to find out that what makes us laugh, often differs hugely from person to person, even though saying it now it seems quite obvious. So tracking and ‘pacing’ the client is always paramount so you can adjust until you find what makes him or her laugh.
Participants were coached into noticing what ‘got the laugh’. Just like everything in NLP, finding out what works and what doesn’t is an experiment away. So what better way to apply this strategy of experimentation than to finding what’s going to ‘crack’ our clients up and what will makes you as a practitioner ‘stand up’ from the crowd?
Laughter Calibration Exercise
With a group of friends, write down a list of 8 of the funniest, silliest names you can think of. Each person read out their least and most favourite names first and notice the responses from the group. Then read all the other 6 remaining names out to see which ones ‘get the laugh’.
This is a great exercise to demonstrate how different things make different people laugh. And to practice calibrating the responses so you can get more and more universal appeal in your style of humour.
How much more creative can you be in using laughter with your clients? To find out, why not join Karen and me for the next class?
Love, Light and Laughter