L&D needs to focus on the benefits happiness can bring

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Written by Seun Robert-Edomi on 26 March 2014 in Interviews

Stephanie Davies outlines the approach that her firm takes to bring about change in businesses, with humour at the centre

Happiness is something we need to be thinking about as an agenda in any organisation, according to a training consultancy focused on humour at work.
Laughology, a firm which uses the psychology of laughter as a personal development tool, believe that humour can help us see things in a different light, feel better about situations and cope with change in organisations. 
Speaking to TJ, Stephanie Davies, founder and director of Laughology, outlined the approach that the firm takes to bring about change in businesses, with humour at the centre. 
“We base a lot of what we do around thinking skills – including humour and resilience,” she said. 
“A sense of humour is developed and this can be used to help people think differently. 
“Humour in the workplace is crucial to positive relationships and the way leaders and managers are means we haven’t yet produced these types of relationships. The human touch is vitally important. Emotions have a huge importance in the way we respond to others so it’s vital to cultivate this. 
“It’s not about telling jokes and being stand-up comedians, it’s about creating an environment where people can be productive through humour. We try to see things in a different light to create positive effect rather than be reactive which I find a lot of firms are.”
Davies will be speaking on the subject of humour at work at the CIPD’s L&D show next month. She’s also a comedian and considers this to have a lasting influence on the training she delivers. 
“The basis of what we do is to bring humour, laughter and happiness into the workplace. We believe that happy teams are productive teams. My background is as a comedian and in psychology – both these aspects are hugely influential in the training delivered.
“Here at Laughology, we try to create teams that have happiness at the base of what they do because if you have that you’ll be successful. 
“We deliver programmes, days, workshops and conferences. A lot of the team are facilitators so they know how to present with a difference and can link it back to psychology. And I think that’s crucial because we can’t sit still in this economic climate. Organisations are recognising that things are ever changing and we need to talk to people in a way which will allow them to thrive and get the best results for the business.”
Some argue that humour isn’t a serious topic, a notion which Davies doesn’t buy. She says that one of the hardest things to do in a business is to be creative, humour can help facilitate this. 
“There are a lot of cynics but a lot of our clients are big blue chip companies we work with on change programmes. They realise that once you get people on board with the way they feel, it’ll help and make a big difference. We have had a great response in that regard and most of our clients continue to book and come back to us. 
“If there were any barriers to this sort of method, I’d say it’s down to fear and if it will go too far. We are a serious business and we deliver training but some may perceive humour as a topic that isn’t serious.
“It’s about balance on a people level. It’s important to keep it simple and this is why we bring humour in. If you don’t, you’ll lose talent so thinking humorously and positively is crucial because it’ll help to foster creativity and innovation which will then benefit your firm in the long run. 
“Humour allows for creativity because you have to suspend reality in the first instance. When you allow humour into the room, anything can happen. You’re saying that at this moment in time; it’s just ideas and you get to a point where you have lots of ideas. You can then pull it back and look at how it can work in the processes that you use." 
She added: “I truly believe that one of the hardest things to do in organisations is to be creative. There are loads of rules and regulations and this can harm creative thinking. Sometimes you just have to put it out there; allow yourself to be daft but don’t lose track of the end goal." 
About the author

Stephanie Davies is founder and director of Laughology. She is also the author of Laughology: Improve your life with the science of laughter.


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