Category Archives: Marti MacGibbon

Remember to Have Fun!

By Marti MacGibbonMarti MacGibbon

Phil, a manager at a tech firm, prides himself on his commitment to his career. He counts rigorous self-discipline as one of his strengths, and expects the same of his subordinates, privately frowning on such “nonsense” in the workplace as birthday cakes and office parties. Phil goes on vacation once a year, only because it’s mandatory. He always selects glamorous destinations because he works so hard and figures he deserves a rich reward. Phil travels with his camera, meticulously recording each brilliant sunset, gorgeous vista, and tourist attraction so that he’ll have an accurate log of all his experiences.

When his vacation ends and he returns to work, Phil reviews all his photos and is surprised that he can scarcely recall any sensation of all that “fun” he was supposedly having. He wonders why this is, and what he is missing. After some consideration, Phil realizes that he’s been so busy attaining goals and meeting requirements, both in work and on vacation, that he has forgotten how to have fun. He wonders if he really knows what fun is.

Fun is an attitude, a state of being; it’s playfulness, enjoyment or amusement. Fun can inspire you, motivate you, and empower you to change your attitude, reactions and perception of yourself. Fun and a sense of humor will propel you toward your goal more quickly and give you inspiration, motivation and a sense of well-being along the way. If you’re having fun, you’re increasing your levels of “feel good” neurotransmitters in your brain ¾ dopamine, serotonin, etc. When this happens, you empower yourself to feel better in general; you’ll find it’s much easier to be creative, energetic and empathic when you feel good.

Remember, fun is not something you look for outside yourself.  It’s something you own, embrace and develop within as you live life in the present moment. It’s easy to think that fun and happiness are things that you might wish would happen to you — things that come from a source outside you, such as a vacation or a new car — but that is a mistaken belief. You make the fun happen. It is totally up to you whether you enjoy life. Here are some tips to help you raise your fun quotient:

Develop Your Ability to “Be in the Moment.” Allow your inner self to awaken and recognize the sheer beauty of being alive. Use gratitude to build your enthusiasm for life, and stay in that attitude as you approach any task, obstacle, or occasion. Give yourself permission to wholeheartedly enjoy each moment without judging. Be playful and keep your knees loose, so to speak. Take a sip from the fountain of youth: having not yet been programmed to make a distinction between work and play, children are constantly exploring, discovering and enjoying the wonder of life. You can do the same, no matter what your chronological age may be. It’s all in your perception.

Break Out of Your Routine and Jumpstart Your Sense of Fun. Shake things up. Try learning a new language, sport or game. Take an improv class to increase your spontaneity. Go to a movie you’d normally avoid seeing. Try a totally different route to or from work. At work, take mini-breaks in the routine: at intervals throughout your day, jump up from the desk, stretch and move around, even at the risk of feeling a little bit goofy. Visit an amusement park and ride the rollercoaster, Ferris wheel, or carousel. At home, rearrange your furniture or try cooking a new and exotic recipe. Take a dance class. You’ll find your fun quotient multiplies exponentially.

Build your Fun Network. Find people you can have fun with, people you can be yourself with, people who can let go and try new activities, methods and techniques. When you find people who appreciate amusement, enjoyment and laughter, stay connected with them and look for more people to add to your “fun network.” Solitude and isolation are sure ways to suppress and stifle your sense of fun, so make sure you broaden your scope of experience socially, and in real time, not in a digital sense. Yes, social media can be fun, interesting and helpful, but there’s no substitute for real, live socializing. And the people in your network will support and energize your practice of having fun.

Celebrate Laughter. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried? When was the last time you laughed so hard your sides hurt? Kick-start your laughter engine – visit a comedy club, watch a funny movie or TV show or read a humorous book. Be silly with someone you trust. Let your hair down, so to speak, and see how much healthier, more likeable and spontaneous you feel. Get into the fun of laughing at yourself, and always take the opportunity to laugh with others.

Take a lesson from Phil’s story. It’s easy to be overcommitted to reaching your goals or meeting your expectations that you forget to have fun. Choose to laugh, feel good and amuse yourself and others — these are conscious actions, and skills that can be developed until they become second nature.

Having fun, laughing, and feeling good will improve health and performance, accelerate learning and memory, increase confidence and empower you to accomplish even more than you dreamed possible. Those who live each moment with a sense of fun and humor find it easier to tolerate, accept and amuse others. Enhance all your relationships with your new attitude. Remember to celebrate the present moment, enjoying each and every aspect of living, and fun will introduce you to yourself again and again.

Marti MacGibbon, CADC II, is a certified mental health professional, inspirational motivational speaker, veteran standup comic, author, and member of the National Speakers Association. Her memoir,  “Never Give in to Fear,” is available on Amazon.com and through her website, martimacgibbon.com. To find out more about her speaking, visit her site or call 310-210-4674.

Winning with Laughter

By Marti MacGibbonMarti MacGibbon

Jenny, a manager in a large manufacturing firm, is required to deliver several presentations per month. She feels confident about putting together the speaking points, which cover technical material, but feels that she is “inflicting” a boring lecture on her listeners, since the material is so dry. She worries that the important information will not be memorable. Jenny wishes she could add an element of humor to presentations, but all her life, she’s told herself that she’s not a funny person. She secretly dreads each presentation and wonders how to pep things up.

Jim’s office is right across the hall from Jenny’s, and as a manager, he is required to present frequently. Jenny marvels at his skill in engaging his audience, each and every time. Jim manages to inject humor into the most technical material, and he obviously has fun doing it. In addition to being a humorous presenter, Jim laughs easily and often, even under the stress of an approaching deadline. Jenny figures that Jim was born with his ability, but nothing could be further from the truth. Jim deliberately developed his skills, and he knows that anyone can do the same.

Laughter wins. Adding humor to your speech will make your intellectual content easier to remember and a whole lot more fun to deliver. Research has shown that laughter stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, accelerating learning. Your audience will retain more of what they hear because humor reduces stress. The lower the stress level, the more we learn.

You don’t have to be a professional comedian or even a class clown in order to infuse a presentation with humor. You don’t have to tell jokes. You can cultivate a unique sense of humor, develop funny material and acquire skills for delivering humor. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Fun is the bottom line: If you are having fun and feeling good, you are more likely to laugh and to create laughter. Confidence, enthusiasm and likeability flourish when you are enjoying life in the moment.Loosen up and practice the art of not taking yourself too seriously. Cultivate a sense of playfulness and focus on having fun, even in mundane things. Immerse yourself in the experience by hanging out with funny people and people who like to laugh.

Visit your local comedy club or watch standup comics on television, taking note of what makes you laugh. This will tell you a lot about your sense of humor. You’ll soon find you are funnier than you thought you were, and your unique sense of humor will manifest itself. After that, it’s just a matter of honing and polishing your wit.

When you’re having fun, your audience can sense it. The fun is contagious, and the audience will be pulling for you. Even if one of your lines doesn’t get a laugh, when you stay in the moment and have fun, it won’t make a difference. You’ve made friends with your audience, so a self-deprecating “saver” comment such as, “That was funny at my house…” or “My mom laughed…” can pull you out of the comic ditch.

Your attitude, perspective or point of view will help you develop your brand of humor: A lot of humor comes from looking at things from one specific vantage point. What’s your personal spin, your take on things in the news, in pop culture or on daily mundane situations? Are you skeptical, enthusiastic, optimistic, defeated or depressed? Any or all of these can be tipped into a comic perspective and will serve as a mother lode of humor.

Tap into what annoys you, but look at it with a humorous approach. Go on a rant – on paper. A sense of desperation, when you apply it in a funny way, can get a really big laugh. Try it and see what kind of funny stuff comes of it. This is a big stress reliever, because the next time someone annoys you, you win! Conversely, what are you excited about? What do you really love? Write it down. A pattern will emerge. Be yourself. Relax. Step back and find yourself looking at life from your new comic perspective.

Prepare your mind as you prepare your presentation: Preparation is essential in public speaking, and doubly so when using humor. Of course, you’ve prepared your material, what you are going to say. But often presenters get so wrapped up in the words they are going to say, they forget the spirit, energy and passion of their message.

Humor requires enthusiasm, commitment and emotional investment. In order to get better connected prior to presentation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What am I bringing to the relationship with my audience?
  • Do I want my audience to benefit from the humor, or am I preoccupied with my own ego and the fear of my humorous lines bombing?
  • Am I speaking from the heart?
  • What do I love about this message and this speaking opportunity?
  • What do I love about my audience?”

If you fill yourself with optimism and positive anticipation, it’s easy to savor the fun of creating laughter. When you let go of your ego, you relax and radiate confidence. Remember that confidence, likeability, and relaxation are key to this process.

Emphasize the “present” in your presentation: Stage presence, cadence, timing, and platform skills will develop with practice. An audience needs to like you in order to laugh. They need to pick up on your confidence. One way to radiate confidence, or at least an illusion of confidence, even when you’re not feeling it, is posture. Stand up straight. Throw your shoulders back. Stand with your feet planted, your weight distributed evenly – that is, don’t shift from one foot to the other. Always move toward the audience. Never appear to shrink back or retreat.

Smile and keep on smiling. Make eye contact. Remember the audience wants the same thing as you do: they want you to be funny and do well. When you deliver your laugh line, slow down and enunciate. When they laugh, stop and let all the laughter die down before continuing. That way you simply ooze confidence– or appear to! Comedy is always in the “now.” Stay in the present moment, and you will be aware of opportunities for extemporaneous humor.

Now that you’ve taken a look at how to win with humor, you are ready to begin your journey. Humor energizes, relieves stress, and improves learning and memory. Enjoy the process of sharing and enjoying laughter. And above all, remember to have fun!

Marti MacGibbon, CADC II, is a certified mental health professional, inspirational motivational speaker, veteran standup comic, author, and member of the National Speakers Association. Her memoir,  “Never Give in to Fear,” is available on Amazon.com and through her website, martimacgibbon.com. To find out more about her speaking, visit her site or call 310-210-4674.