Learn from the clowns

Every workplace can benefit from a dose of humour, says business manager, trainer and comedian Terry Williams

Learn from the clowns

Mr Terry Williams leads a self-confessed dual life — he is a serious business manager and trainer by day and a stand-up comedian by night.

Author, speaker, emcee, trainer and comedian, Mr Williams has not only done it all it seems, but he has also amassed a lot of experience and success in his working lifetime to allow him to positively influence the lives of others.

Seriously funny

Before starting his companies — seriouspeople Limited and seriouscomedy Limited — Mr Williams worked in the financial services, gaming, telecommunications and government sectors in training as well as operational and customer service management.

Being a manager and business owner has enabled him to have a greater involvement in broader organisational development.

You will see the spark of passion in him when he is in front of a room helping learners learn and, even more importantly, transferring that learning into practical, tangible and measurable results in the workplace.

His work involves entertaining or hosting corporate events and conferences for clients such as Sony, Mercedes and even the New Zealand national rugby team, All Blacks.

His point of difference as a speaker is that, in addition to his business experience and knowledge, he has also been a professional stand-up comedian for 10 years.

He challenges himself to do two dangerous things a year, which is how he got into stand-up comedy.

Consequently, his business presentations are engaging.

“Appropriate fun reinforces the learning,” he says.

Humour at work

His earliest forays into professional speaking were about humour in the workplace and how some skills of a comedian could make non-comedic business people better managers, leaders, sales professionals and communicators.

As a business-savvy satirist, he shares some hard facts regarding what employers can offer, and be seen to offer, to make them an employer and workplace of choice.

He examines what it means to be a workplace of choice and whether it justifies itself in business results.

Why do people really leave?

Why do people, especially talented and desirable people with options, come and go or stay?

What can workplaces consciously and proactively do to influence that?

Fun must be planned

Mr Williams believes that for modern workplaces to succeed in the future, they need to become a network of inter-relationships that are deliberately managed rather than left to chance, as in a traditionally rigid hierarchical organisation.

“It won’t just happen by accident. You have got to consciously plan and create the conditions for a fun workplace,” he says.

He believes that employers don’t need to become clowns themselves to do this, but rather, look at the techniques that comedians use — basic communication styles, rapport building, accelerated learning techniques — and use them in serious workplace situations that people face every day in the business world.

“Using humour at work will help managers and office administrators increase the energy in their office,” he explains.

“Benefits also extend to team leaders who want to learn fun and fresh ways to communicate effectively with staff to increase productivity.”

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