For a tea party, a unicorn and a dinosaur walk over to the marshmallow alien’s nest before going on boarding their flying pirate ship for an afternoon ride. I know. It sounds like I’m either crazy, or tripping over something strong. This is the normal day for a child in the magical place of their imagination.
Have you ever been able to tap into the creativity of a child? It’s quite amazing to see the world they live in without having to deal with the limitations we face as adults. We all start out in this way, but as we go along, we become more serious. This is when we lose our imaginative side.
Why is it that children are so creative? It’s simple because they spend most of their time playing. It could also be used to produce amazing results in the business world.
Play harder and work hard
As adults, society teaches us that we must all grow up and be serious. That work and play must be separated. These ideas are not necessarily incompatible. Play is not the opposite of work. It’s depression. Organizations can learn the best-kept secrets to making them the most sought-after employer among potential employees once they realize that work and play can and should co-exist.
The boom of 1990s saw the birth of the marriage of work/play. In this era, visionaries and geniuses working out of their garages formed friendships and businesses over coffee and Nerf basketball. Surprisingly, not much research has been done on this topic. However, studies have shown that having fun at work increases employee productivity and organizational citizenship behaviors such as helping colleagues, showing pride in the company and building loyalty to the company. People feel more connected when they have fun and work together.
Why should companies encourage fun? It boosts creativity and morale. People spend more time working so they want to make the most out of it and have a lot of fun while they’re there. Everybody wants to think outside of the box. However, most people continue to operate within the box because they don’t have the ability to tap into the creativity that is waiting inside.
Are you a robot, or a comedian?
Consider this: How much do you remember if someone explains something in a voice that sounds like Ferris Bueller’s teacher? What about when you listen a comedian explain something? Most people can probably recall every story. I learned a lot from Sesame Street’s 80s kids, much like a cookie monster. I don’t know if you think that is crazy, but watching him devour cookies so violently caught my attention.
Your audience will remember you and your message if you bring humor to your presentations. When presenting, I try to start with a joke or two and add humor throughout the talk. You want your message to stick in their minds long-term, so if you are going to put in a lot of effort to prepare a speech, or communicate an idea, then you should do it with humor. Laughter is the gateway to learning, because it puts you in a better frame of mind to absorb new ideas.
Creative ideas are only the beginning
You can bring fun and recreation to your workplace. This will not only increase creativity and innovation but also lower turnover and costs for employees.
According to the World Health Organization, American companies suffer from work-related stress that costs them over 300 billion dollars annually. It’s easy to see how stressful work environments can stifle imagination and cause unhappiness which contributes to emotional and physical health problems. This also means that employees who are unhappy will leave when they see something better. Over 40% of American workers report work-place stress.