Please feel free to tape this to a Frisbee, broil it in the
waffle iron, put a segment (with credit) in your company newsletter
or ship it in a bottle . . .
This Week . . .
1. Finding the Funny in a Crisis
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip of the Day
3. Quote of the Week
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky, World . . .
1. Finding the Funny in a Crisis
Living and working for 16 years in the Canadian Rockies, I’ve hiked a
lot of trails. I’ have climbed peaks, crossed glaciers, waded across
raging rivers, been chased by a deer, had a close encounter with a
moose and have been bluff charged by a grizzly. And for all of that,
nary a scratch to show for it.
Then, last week, I head into the big city of Calgary to do a talk
to 250 folks. One hour before the talk, I decide to pop into a mall
to pick up some breathe mints.
I’m in a great mood. It’s a beautiful day. I’m walking with a special
spring-like spring in my step, full of good humor, happy to be alive,
Walking like I’m a guy with somewhere to go.
I was walking with such happy determination, that I never saw it
coming. The glass door, that is. Like a drunken robin flying into a
kitchen window, I smashed face first with full force into the inner
mall door, and dropped faster than Paul Martin (for the American
readers, faster than Enron).
Staggering up, I realized I was bleeding profusely. I scurried
through the mall, hanky covering my face, desperately looking for a
washroom, leaning forward so as not to get blood all over my good
clothes (I didn’t want to frighten my audience).
No one, and I mean, no one, could tell where the nearest washroom was.
But in my bloodied, panicked state, I still tried to practice what I
preach, and attempted to look for the humor in the situation.
“What do you mean? HOW can you possibly not know where a washroom
is?” I asked store workers with an incredulous look on my face.
Finally, I was directed three stories up. I raced to the restroom,
and discovered that I was bleeding from both nostrils, inside my mouth
and from a Grand Canyon-sized cut above my lip.
“Great, I laughed (or tried to), “There goes the modeling career.”
I flagged down a first aid attendant, who pointed out that she thought
the cut went right through to the inside of my mouth. “What a bonus,”
I replied, I’ll be able to drink water and shoot it out my face like a
dolphin. My audiences will love it. I’ll be the next Flipper.”
To make an already long story not quite so long (it gets worse,
involving unhelpful doormen, security guards and a rubber chicken).
I made it to my talk just in time, and somehow managed to deliver it
with a large band-aid strapped across the upper half of my mouth.
I looked a little like Hannibal Lecter with his creepy face mask on.
Ten minutes into my talk, my band aid unpeeled and began flapping
waywardly below my nose, causing a distraction to me, and most likely
to a hundred or so of my audience members. I finally yanked the
sucker off, and asked the audience to notify me if I start
bleeding profusely, or pass out.
The moral of my little tale is simply this, that even in a mini-crisis
like this one, I somehow managed to find some humor in it. It wasn’t
easy, and no, I wasn’t always successful at it, but I tried my best to
laugh, and it did make a difference. It helped me, and the people
around me laugh, and gave me a great excuse to open my program with a
new story. And by that evening, I was able to really laugh about it
(without cringing in pain). I’ ve even added a note “Open doors
BEFORE going through,” to all of my program planning notes, just as a
So the next time life rears up and smacks you in the face, try to find
something, ANYTHING in the situation to laugh about. It may not stop
the bleeding, but it might make you feel better.
2. Mike’s Fun at Work Tip
If you’re delivering a talk, or speaking at a meeting, be flexible
enough to incorporate a last minute incident or story into your
presentation. It will show folks that you’re not on autopilot, that
you’re truly present and in the moment, and that you really do know
why there’s a band-aid flapping below your nose.
3. Quote of the Week
“The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”
4. It’s a Wacky, Wacky World . . .
A man in Pittsburgh was charged with disrupting a public meeting after
he refused to yield the podium during a town meeting. He went on for
11 minutes, well over the maximum allotted time of 5 minutes. For his
heinous crime the man was charged and faced a maximum fine of
$5,000.00 (U.S.) and two years in jail.
The judge, however, ruled that his act did not “rise to the level of a
crime,” and likely guessed that if we charged everyone for going over
their time limit during a talk, our jails would not have enough room
to hold everyone.
Copyright Michael Kerr
“Just wanted to say “WOW!” Our group has had many speakers over the years, but none the likes of Mike Kerr.”
Richard Dansereau, President, NAPA Autopro BDG
“Michael Kerr is one of the best speakers I have seen. I highly recommend him!”
Veronica D. Bouvier, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Aspen Properties Ltd.
“Mike held the full attention of our senior management team for a full FOUR hour
presentation – no small accomplishment!”
Martine Rothblatt, CEO, United Therapeutics
“Our participants rated you as the speaker with the highest quality and relevance.”
Lana J. Larocque, Alberta Human Resources