With personal and workplace stress at an all-time high, maintaining a sense of humor and finding time to laugh can help travel agents be more efficient, more productive and ultimately more successful.
In a conversation with Travel Market Report, Paul McGhee, PhD, president of the Laughter Remedy, discussed the benefits of humor and how travel agents can inject a little fun into their day. McGhee is author of Humor as Survival Training for a Stressed-Out World (2010).
Tools for relieving stress
“Every couple of years the stress bar is raised higher, so basically the emotional toll on people has been increased,” McGhee said. “If you’re going to demand more and more of your employees, you also need to provide them tools for building emotional resilience.”
Whether you manage others, work for someone else, or are a “solopreneur,” you need tools to help resist the negative effects of stress so you can be more effective in your job. At least one of those tools must be for managing your mood or your frame of mind, McGhee added.
That’s where humor comes in to play.
“The reason humor works and makes it easier to do your job is the notion of letting go. That’s key,” he said. “The power of humor lies in its ability to pull you out of the negative place you’re in and substitute a good, positive place in its stead.”
“People who enjoy their jobs work more effectively. If you don’t enjoy your job, negative emotion gets in the way of you being effective.”
Stress and negativity are also efficiency killers.
Focus is a necessity when there are so many things that have to be done in a limited amount of time. But if you’re overstressed or frustrated, it’s hard to remain focused. “Whatever negative stuff you’ve got going on is a distraction,” McGhee explained.
Humor diffuses this.
“Humor is a quick and effective tool to put you in a frame of mind where you can be more focused; you don’t have all that negative emotion slowing you down,” McGhee said.
Humor also positively impacts creativity, he added.
“Humor involves thinking outside of the box because you’re looking at things in a new way,” McGhee said. “There seems to be some skill that comes from this habit of looking at things in an unexpected way that then applies to other types of problems.”
With today’s incredibly fast rate of change, people who can adapt and see things in a new light have a higher chance of success.
Better client relations
Maintaining a positive, upbeat mood also goes a long way when it comes to good client relations. If you’ve just spent a half hour dealing with a frustrating client and you now have to turn your attention to a new client, you can’t let your frustration show.
“In order to sustain a working relationship, you’ve got to find a way of keeping a positive frame of mind,” McGhee said.
Nobody enjoys working with someone who doesn’t seem like they want to be doing what they’re doing. “So if you don’t have the ability to let go of the negative place you might be in, there’s a good chance you’ll lose clients.”
All things being equal, people prefer to work with someone who’s positive and upbeat.
For more on humor, visit www.laughterremedy.com.