The Importance of Humor and Personalized Comedy in Team Meetings and Events

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Are personalized comedy shows great for virtual experiences?

It’s been almost a year since companies across the country have been working from home, having a huge impact on the entire workforce and business operations in many different ways. Work-from-home has had the opposite effect of a work-life balance, leading employees and teams to be more stressed and work longer hours, taking away from the free time they could have used for spending time and socializing with family or friends, or simply just relaxing.  As we continue into 2021, still remote and no in-person interactions, companies are realizing they need to find new and innovative ways to keep their teams and employees connected, and make it a priority to develop their virtual cultures even more.

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Once companies went remote in March last year, business leaders across departments were thrust into a job they didn’t really sign up for – event planning. The most common phrase that I hear from someone inquiring about a virtual comedy show is, “we’ve done everything out there – virtual cooking classes, team happy hours, escape rooms, magicians, even escape rooms that have a magician cooking,” (ok I made that last part up). I’ve heard this as far back as June 2020, so you can imagine how much this phrase has picked up now that we’re in 2021.  Most importantly, I’ve heard, “we could really use a laugh,” which is something just about anyone can relate to at this time, and where virtual comedy comes into play.

By personalizing comedy shows, and making the focus and subject matter about the audience, feedback has been insanely positive and has enabled teams to become closer through comedy and learning more about their teammates. In a Laugh.Events survey, over 60% of attendees said that these personalized comedy shows were the best virtual experience they had been involved with all year.

A familiar quote that everyone has heard at least once in their lives is, “Laughter is the best medicine.” Few people realize this quote is actually from a psychiatrist, and doctors have found that laughter can change people’s mental and physical well-being. Now I’m not a doctor, but if laughter can combat stress, anxiety, and depression, everyone should be prescribed it, especially during this time. Companies that focus on the physical and mental health of their employees are the ones that win at employee engagement and retention. Since humor can impact both physical and mental health, it’s almost imperative that it be mixed in each work week.

Just as laughter has been known to improve physical and mental health, it is also able to improve our memory and strengthen relationships. If people are working with their co-workers on a daily basis, it helps to know the person behind the spreadsheet, presentation, or email, and continue to build on that relationship. Who is this person? What do they like? What makes them human? This can easily be done through personalized comedy. In this case, all audiences have to do, prior to setting up attending a show, is to fill out either a survey or questionnaire. The most common question answered in this pre-event survey is a fun fact about yourself that your teammates might not know. Companies are then able to attend a personalized comedy show, Laughing and Bonding for instance, as a way for employees to be able to connect with one another on a more personal level. A standup comedian, someone who is professionally trained to make people laugh, is using fun facts submitted by audience members to make their jokes. What better way to learn fun(ny) facts about your co-workers than by laughing the whole way through. Plus, it’s easier for people to remember these facts when they are laughing the whole time. These events not only bond coworkers together, and make them work harder with and for each other, but it gives people something to talk about other than work.

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While nothing will ever beat the energy that comes from in-person company outings, or being in a comedy club, 2020 has proven that there are multiple ways to conduct virtual team bonding activities and enjoy live comedy. In 2021, virtual comedy will continue to make strides simply because people are more comfortable with it. More so, corporate virtual comedy will increase tenfold because of the remote work culture that has been established across organizations, big and small. Corporations will need to be competitive in attracting talent, and since the Kombucha is no longer on tap for remote employees, companies will have to get creative in establishing their virtual cultures in order to attract top talent. When everything is safe and goes back to normal, people will still be going to comedy clubs with their teams on outings. But if a corporation can control the tone of the event, through an event organizer pre-event survey, and make the show all about the employees they are celebrating, through an attendee pre-event survey, AND include all employees and teams across departments – remote and in-person – well that’s hard to turn down. Over 96% of people surveyed by Laugh.Events said this type of experience is something that they would want to do again – either with another comic, a different personalized activity, or in any form. When steps are put in place to make sure that the comic and activity will fit an audience well, then that’s the best way to plan for success between corporate team events and comedy.

Just like the corporate world, the comedy world is still figuring it out as it goes. Overall, virtual comedy events are about bringing people, especially employees, closer together, getting them to interact with one another and the comic, and allowing them to experience an event that is different and unique to what they are interested in hearing. It has been found that personalization leads to the best shows, brings back previous groups, and dramatically increases event success rates. As companies continue to figure out what is best for their virtual cultures, they should highly consider implementing comedy, if they haven’t already, as it will be both impactful to the employee and the company as a whole.

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