Using Humor in Small Business with Dr. Peter McGraw

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Using Humor in Small Business with Dr. Peter McGraw

Dr. Peter McGraw How to leverage humor to help us better manage and grow our small business – without having to necessarily tell jokes or be a comedian. Dr. Peter McGraw has studied humor extensively – he is the author of two books on the subject – and how it can benefit us in business.

Dr. Peter McGraw is a behavioral economist, professional speaker, and expert on the scientific study of humor. A marketing and psychology professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, Peter investigates the interplay of emotions, judgment, and choice. His research has been covered by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, BBC, TIME, CNN, Wired, and Harvard Business Review.

McGraw teaches graduate courses in behavioral economics for the University of Colorado Boulder and MBA courses in marketing management for London Business School, University of California San Diego’s Rady School, and University of Colorado Boulder. He speaks at Fortune 500 companies, public events, and universities around the world.

As the director of the Humor Research Lab (aka HuRL), he has spent ten years examining the antecedents and consequences of humor. In 2014, he co-authored “The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny”. He is also the author of “Shtick to Business: What the Masters of Comedy Can Teach You about Breaking Rules, Being Fearless, and Building a Serious Career”.

McGraw hosts I’M NOT JOKING, a podcast that looks at the lives of funny people from entertainment, business, science, and the arts. He also hosts Funny or True?, a live comedy gameshow that pits comedians against scientists to see who has the best blend of brains and funny bone.

Peter lives in the Los Angeles, California area.

Topics and questions covered in this episode of The How of Business podcast include:

  • How can we use Humor in Business?
  • When did you develop your interest in comedy, and how it applies to business environments?
  • Would you please introduce the interplay of emotions, judgment, and choice?
  • It’s not about being funny like a comedian – but instead to think funny. Great comedy is based on novelty, and so comedy as a craft is constantly evolving—even faster than businesses innovate. Please explain this correlation further?
  • “The Humor Code”: “For the first time, they have established a comprehensive theory that answers the question “what makes things funny?” Based on original research from the Humor Research Lab (HuRL) at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the pair’s experiences across the globe, The Humor Code explains the secret behind winning the New Yorker cartoon caption contest, why some dead baby jokes are funnier than others, and whether laughter really is the best medicine.”
  • What makes something funny? Is it fairly universal?
  • “The insights in “Shtick to Business” will help you improve innovation and outsmart the competition. You’ll build new skills—enhanced creativity, better decision-making, and a marketing mindset—to launch a business, tackle tough management problems, and build a serious career. And you’ll never have to tell a joke.”
  • How does using humor help you make better decisions and become a better entrepreneur?
  • How can we apply humor to small business marketing?
  • Overall, how will using humor in my small business help me succeed as an entrepreneur?
  • How can I begin to learn to be funny, and apply humor to help operate and grow my small business?

Episode Host: Henry Lopez is a serial entrepreneur, small business coach, and the host of this episode of The How of Business podcast show – dedicated to helping you start, run and grow your small business.


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