Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Playing Pays Dividends on Profits

Easter is just around the corner and the sun is shining - time for some fun and games. Whatever your age, child-like qualities such as a sense of fun and a vivid imagination can not only make your life more enjoyable, they can make your business more profitable too!

Take laughter - adults laugh on average 15 times a day - children do that before breakfast, laughing on average 20 times more often than adults. Laughter is indeed magical - it creates an instant feelgood boost, but has hidden benefits to your health: it strengthens your immune system, lowers blood pressure, stimulates blood flow and boosts cardiovascular fitness.

Whilst laughter and work don't often seem to go hand in hand, perhaps they should....

The Proven Benefits of a Lighter Workplace:

Research has shown that humour and play in the workplace can have a dramatic impact on both people and profits:

* Improved morale
* Improved relationships
* Increased creativity (up to 50% at science giant Monsanto)
* Breakthroughs in productivity
* Increased job satisfaction (and thus reduced staff turnover)
* Better and faster decision-making
* Reduced customer complaints

So today, over Easter and then, hey let's go for it, for the rest of your life, your mission if to be light hearted at work.

To laugh. To share jokes. To dance and sing in the corridor (try it in the loos, it really freaks people out!). To instigate a 'worst holiday photo ever' competition. To have a 3pm dance-off in the elevator. To skip to your next meeting - preferably arm in arm with someone else. To have an impromtu picnic in the park and play frisbee. To go out and buy a round of ice-creams for your team. To prefix everyone's names with King, Queen, Prince or Princess next week in honour of the Royal Wedding.

To find a steep grassy hill and roll down it - it'll take your breath away! To see how giddy you can get on a roundabout looking up at the sky. To stop calling it 'work' and start calling it 'paid-play' - and watch the expressions as you tell people you're off to "paid play" in the morning!

Not enough suggestions? Get out your crayons, sit on the floor and brainstorm some more... or if you're really stuck in the mud visit this website which lists 101 of them...

The question is this - how old would you be, if you didn't know how old you are? Me? Somewhere around 12 and three quarters, going on 21!!!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Vivid Visuals Bring Words to Life

A vivid visual is one of the most powerful and universal means of communicating with impact. Whether it's sharing a photograph of a special event, or explaining how to assemble your flatpack furniture, nothing beats great a picture (or frustrates as much as a bad one!). But instead of just telling you about them, let me help you experience it for yourself....

Think of an elephant.

No, not one like that.

An especially vivid one: a tiny, purple and silver striped elephant, shiny and crinkly, about 2 inches tall and standing in the palm of your hand right now. She's called Betsy and is trumpeting, pa-pah pa-pah as she stomps around in a circle, which kind of tickles your palm a little bit and makes you smile. She keeps looking at your for reassurance - with her deep black eyes and soft eyelashes, and her big ears billowing. How cute is she? Did the image of her make you smile? Did you (almost) hold your hand out to look at her more closely (I did!).

How real is this elephant to you now? When it comes to your brain, the purple Betsy elephant you have imagined is just as real as if she had really been in your hand - you used the same bits of your brain to imagine her as you do to see her for real.

And will you remember her? You bet!

Imagine then, how a few simple words, specifically designed to create clear and vivid pictures can transform the impact you have when you communicate with other people. A few words can literally bring something alive inside their minds.

So before you start crafting a letter, an email, a presentation, decide on the image you want to create in the minds of your audience. And if you can link a number of images to make a story, or movie, even better.