My youngest daughter Joely recently had her first grade end-of-year show, which culminated with 100+ kids belting out the words to Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ as we all danced and clapped along. This isn’t the first time I’ve been affected by this crazily infectious song. Earlier this spring at the TED Conference, which is packed with lofty speakers and serious ideas, the event’s organizers stopped in between sessions and directed everyone to the stage. Once we got up there, someone yelled “Dance!” and Pharrell’s song came on. After looking around at each other a little nervously, a few of us began dancing, and within 30 seconds, we were all jumping around on the stage like maniacs. It was the best coffee break I’ve ever experienced at a business conference. Fifteen minutes later, we got back to our beanbags with our hearts beating fast, motivated and eager to listen to the next slate of speakers.
Which leads me to the question: Why don’t we have more of that in business? There’s something to be said for cultivating happiness – silliness, even – especially in work situations. When you’re having fun, and enjoying what you do, everyone around you can feel it. It’s infectious. Walk around with a skip in your step, and co-workers will adapt one, too. Joke around with clients, and you’ll leave them smiling – and wanting to do more business with you. I try to inject a little silliness into each day at work, and many others here are of the same mind.
Just the other day, I asked (OK, I made) Advantages Editor Kathy Huston model a ridiculously silly new promo product on her head. She readily obliged, and I tweeted it out. Needless to say, our business pals throughout the Twitter universe were retweeting the photo and chuckling about it the rest of the day.
And the following morning, Supplier Global Resource Editor Michele Bell approached me with a fun idea: There’s an art studio nearby that teaches everyone (apparently even horrible artists like me) to paint a simple object. You bring your own beer or wine and come home with a framed piece of artwork. Michele thought it would be fun to take our entire editorial staff there for an afternoon in August, and we couldn’t sign up fast enough. A creative afternoon drinking wine and painting with my work buddies? Bring it on!
You can extend your fun spirit beyond your workplace. In this month’s issue of Advantages, we talk about how client outings like baseball games, outdoor concerts and dinner cruises can do a lot more to cement business relationships than a phone call or a PowerPoint presentation. Check out some fun ideas on Page 7. And in the meantime, if you need a little pick-me-up, play a little Pharrell and dance a happy dance around your office. I promise – good things will come of it.