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Humor at work | Andrew Tarvin | TEDxOhioStateUniversity

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. In this talk Andrew Tarvin talks about how he brought humor to the workplace while he worked at Procter & Gamble. After being complimented by co-workers on how humor helped them enjoy their work, Andrew decided to start becoming a humor engineer–using humor to help people become more efficient and effective in the workplace.

For a final project presentation while working at Procter & Gamble, Andrew Tarvin made presentation slides using Microsoft Paint to bring humor to his PowerPoint presentations. Since then, he has used the skills he learned as an engineer (and his funny personality) to show people how to use humor in the workplace.

Andrew Tarvin is an award-winning speaker, best-selling author, and international comedian. He’s worked with more than 100 organizations including Procter & Gamble, GE, and Western & Southern Life Insurance on topics including humor in the workplace, communicating confidently, leadership through change, and strategic disengagement. He is also the author of the best-selling book 501 Ways to Use Humor at Work.

Andrew graduated with a degree in Computer Science & Engineering from The Ohio State University, where he was also a co-founder of the 8th Floor Improv Comedy Group.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)


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  1. Nice job Drew.  Some good facts and good one liners.  You still haven't quantified humor into NOS for me yet – can you get on that.

  2. A brilliant presentation Mr. Tarvin. Thank you. Learning how to use humor is so important. In show business we have a term…"he's always on…" To be "on" may be good for the person who is "on" but not necessarily for the listener, in fact may be disapproved of to the point of counterattack. Humor, must be tempered, if you will, to the audience, the circumstances or both, to be effective. Another consideration you underline that I like is that humor is different than comedy. Wonderful. One is immediate, the other is theater. Thanks for the opportunity to comment, the fun and the smiles woven into the fabric of your presentation.

  3. My Aerospace Engineering company is so dry it's really a drain.  I use humor all the time and there is a significant percentage of the time it's unwelcome. Not because I use inappropriate humor, but because they are SO SERIOUS that they infer that I am not serious enough to handle projects efficiently.  This is regardless of my impeccable record of project completion.

    We have training modules all the time for various reasons.  This talk should be a mandatory training item. Wouldn't that be great.

    One last thing… to all you SQUARES out there… LiGHTEN uP !! Life is supposed to be fun!

  4. Drew, so glad you "drew" this to my attention.  Great job!  Excellent flow, useful points, awesome well-timed slides.  Congratulations on being selected to present a TED talk. You nailed it!   On your next TED talk, please include more how to find one's personal humor style and resources to help put humor into action at work.  You definitely deserve TED Talk #2.

  5. What an inspiring talk!  It takes courage to use humor in a work place where the corporate culture is very formal and staid.  Just listening to Drew talk makes me want to be on a team with him.  I want my coworkers to feel that way about me.  Makes me want to take a few risks and give humor a shot.  Improved health, physical, emotional, and financial, are worth the risk.  Thanks, Drew.

  6. What a boring corporate guy, who never got much beyond the joke at work, that makes work, well almost likable work. We need stronger, better, more playful ideas that this.

  7. dead on! Growing up as a child I also learned that humor was a good defense mechanism. make the biggest bully in your school laugh and he leaves you alone.

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