Funny Business

Smart Events

Karyn Buxman speaking at The Smart Mart San Diego

As professions go, meeting planners don’t have a whole roster of jokes associated with them the way that, say, lawyers do. But here’s an item taken from an evaluation that only a planner could see the humor in: “I don’t know why they needed to hire a meeting planner,” the attendee wrote. “All she did was stand at the back of the room and everything went great without her.”

What we find funny often centers on the things that frustrate us, whether it’s in our personal or profession lives. That was one of the points that humor expert Karyn Buxman made during her presentation at The Smart Mart San Diego this afternoon. Buxman has investigated humor from an academic standpoint and written about how humor can enhance health, education and business. That final item was the focus of Buxman’s session, which demonstrated the power of laughter to provide a competitive business edge. As an example, she cited Southwest Airlines, which allows its flight attendants to exercise their sense of humor. “They understand funny means money,” Buxman says.

“People always ask, ‘Can you help me be funny?’” Buxman says. “Here is some really good news: You don’t have to be funny. The world’s greatest leaders and most powerful businesspeople are not humor initiators, they are humor appreciators.”

To help Smart Mart attendees with their humor appreciation, Buxman offered the following stress-busting suggestions, occasionally making use of props:

–A clown nose to wear while driving. If someone isn’t letting you merge, just put it on and “one of two things will happen,” she says. “Either they’ll pretend like they didn’t see you, or they’ll slow down, which gives you an opportunity to pull in front of them.”

–A wand with streaming ribbons, so that when someone at your office asks for the impossible, you can wave it like a magic wand and say, “Your wish is granted.”

–A marshmallow blow gun: “You actually can eat your ammunition.”

–Simply grinning like an idiot. If nothing else, it may convince people to leave you alone.

Her other suggestions for humor-impaired people included seeking out humor every day, collecting jokes and funny quotes, and stepping outside your comfort zone. “Nobody ever died of feeling silly,” Buxman says. “I would wish you more silliness in so many things.”

There’s just one more Smart Event left in 2012. Don’t miss out! Sign up for The Smart Mart Dallas today, and check out our preliminary 2013 Events Calendar to start making plans for next year.

—Bill Chapin

  • AtlantisParadise-bahamas

    Smart Meeting Bahamas to Go On as Scheduled

    Smart Meeting Bahamas will be held as scheduled at Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas in Nassau Oct. 4–6. Hurricane Joaquin began passing over the Bahamas Thursday, but is moving north and will not affect the event. By Sunday, the…


    Smart Meeting Bahamas

    Click here for more details for Smart Meeting Bahamas! When: Sunday-Tuesday, October 4-6, 2015 Where: Atlantis Paradise Island Resort Nassau, Bahamas Why: Attend our exclusive networking event for meeting planners and you will: Meet in one-on-one appointments…


    It’s no Myth. Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas is Great for Events

    Many groups are drawn to the Bahamas because of the warm sun, sandy beaches and crystal-clear water. But the islands also boast unique meeting and event venues at outstanding resorts and hotels, including Atlantis Paradise Island, Bahamas.…

    Tysons Corner

    Event Recap: Essential Expertise in Tysons Corner

    Meeting planners were educated on industry topics and trends at Smart Meetings’ event in July at Sheraton Tysons Hotel in Virginia. At the one-day experience, planners put what they learned into action during business appointments with suppliers.…

    Smart Meeting Mountain Desert

    Live Updates: Smart Meeting Mountain/Desert

    Follow all the networking and special moments during our Smart Meeting Mountain/Desert. Our meeting experience includes one-on-one appointments with premier properties and destinations, networking activities, education sessions with expert speakers, a fabulous breakfast reception, lunch and upscale…

  • workplace-inequality

    Workplace Inequality Still Exists

    Workplace inequality still exists, as working women still lag behind men in pay and promotional opportunities according to Gallup’s Work and Education survey conducted Aug. 5-9, 2015. Surprisingly little has changed since Gallup conducted a similar poll…


    Live Updates: Weathering the Storm with #VisitRaleigh

    As a business travel writer, I get to experience a lot of pretty cool things, but I must say that being hosted by #VisitRaleigh North Carolina this week during the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival is notable (pun…

    Platinum Choice Awards -Voting is Now Closed

    Platinum Choice Awards -Voting is Now Closed

    Winners will be announced in our Smart Meetings December Issue. We want to thank everyone that voted and we look forward to honoring top hotels and properties that exceed industry standards, and go above and beyond to…


    7 Tips for Managing Interns

    Many firms welcome interns to the work place, but in a blog posting on Larry Mogelonsky points out that they are more than just temporary recruits brought in to handle menial tasks. The Toronto-based marketing expert offers the…


    Air Travel Complaints on the Rise in 2015

    Delays, missed connections, lost or damaged luggage, boarding bottlenecks… The list of things airline passengers grumble about could go on for days—especially since air travelers lodged more complaints in the first half of 2015, according to a…