Mad Hatter Day
October 6, 2016 is Mad Hatter Day. Established in 1986 by a small tech company based in Boulder, CO, Mad Hatter Day has become synonymous with finding the funny quirks in our everyday lives and poking fun at them.
In business, Mad Hatter Day provides us with a wonderful opportunity. Sometimes it takes a Mad Hatter attitude to get through tough negotiations. Keep in mind that a sense of humor can humble even the toughest negotiators in the business world.
Humor is an easy to way to ease tensions and get the focus back on the matter at hand. It enlivens communications, but can be time-consuming, so make sure you use it sparingly.
Humor also creates an alternative view or “change in reality” during negotiations. This, in turn, encourages creativity. It also provides multiple perspectives, meaning, and uncertainties. By dressing these issues in humor, it makes the mind easier to accept and create alternatives for difficult situations.
You can also use humor to evaluate how the negotiation process is going. Is it bridging the gap between disagreements or deflecting attention away from difficult issues? Humor can transform uncertainty and difficulty into new opportunity by cleansing the tension and resetting the focus.
Humor must be respectful and not at the expense of a negotiating party. Otherwise, it can ratchet up the tension and make negotiations more difficult. It should never dismiss the other party’s concerns. Try not to stray into sarcasm as it can be taken the wrong way.
Here are two ways you can introduce humor into a situation:
- Make a comment about the absurdity of the situation, such as an overheated room, or the fifteen different regulations you had to read to figure out which seat you were supposed to sit in.
- Point out when one person says something you would expect from the other side.
Both ways provide a common ground among all negotiators and give you a path to move forward through. Humor is a safety valve on tension that is necessary to maintain good will and understanding. Use it to create a space for release and recognition rather than just being funny.
Stay ethical and use your humor to spread good will, and you’ll see great results. Happy Mad Hatter Day!