For some of us we don’t have a funny bone in our bodies, while for others being funny comes naturally without very little thought or effort. For Tim Gard using humour is not only natural but is also a skill he has chosen to master as a tool yielding epic influence.
Tim has had first hand experience of what it is to earn a living in stressful environments – having worked in State and Federal Government in Human Services and (as you’ll hear more about) also spending time as a fraud investigator.
He was in fact known as the ‘Funny Fed’– as he continually – and consciously developed humour as a way to diffuse situations, create connection and immediately disarm even the most challenging of conversations.
Tim is now one of the most successful speakers on the planet when it comes to using humor as a tool in business and in life. He is the creator of Comic Vision – a method and philosophy of using humor to influence – first yourself – and then other people. He is also the author of ‘Just Plane Funny’ and co-author of ‘Motivational Leaders’ and ‘Humor Me’.
I have known (and travelled with) Tim for more than a decade – I have witnessed him get of airplanes with fake chicken feet hanging out of his luggage – because ‘no one is going to accidently take home a bag with chicken feet hanging out of it’. Hand out his own policy manuals at hotels – when faced with the immortal line ‘I’m sorry Sir but that’s against our policy’. And – and I’m not joking here – literally sit on a flight drawing in a coloring book made up entirely of pictures of himself… just to dissuade anyone from sitting next to him. Side note – that strategy is always and without exception – successful.
So – other than just being one of my favorite people on the planet – and incidentally also the MC at my wedding (who could forget a room of 60 people playing nose flutes between speeches) – why did I ask Tim to be on the podcast? What has humor really got to do with influence?
In being around Tim I have learned so much about using the skills of a humorist to break states and behaviors – in people and situations – that have obviously been stagnant for years. I’ve learned how humor can immediately and effectively de-escalate situations, or disarm opponents in a way where no other communication or negotiation skill comes close.
Humor has this way of cutting through the noise – of breaking down walls – of building bridges – and of holding attention – that I have come to believe makes it one of the most underestimated tools of influence available.
That’s not even counting what Tim and these tools have given me – the ability to use humor to walk through life lightly, to stay in a resilient and resourceful state – and maintain perspective in heavy situations. As he says – ‘do it first for yourself – and then for other people’.
In this conversation we break down:
● How and Why Hillary Clinton was able to ‘diminish the question – but not the person’ by using humor in her response to Donald Trump when it came to her business experience.
● The role of ‘planned spontaneity’ and why it’s easier than it sounds
● How to actively use humor to solve problems (aka the Chicken Feet)
● Why it’s essential to stay present to the stories around us every day
● Why when using storytelling as a tool – the goal should always be to ‘live and relive’ rather than ‘tell and retell’
● How to ‘dismount’ gracefully when an attempt at humor fails
So… sit back and prepare to tune in your own style of Comic Vision. Because – like everything – it looks different for us all. Please enjoy my conversation with the irrepressible and irreplaceable – Tim Gard.