Tuesday, November 24, 2009

How to come across as clever (or not)

magnifying glass A friend once pointed out that when it comes to material for jokes, conversations abound with low-hanging fruit – you just need to look for it. 

This is easier said than done.  We are naturally wired to ignore most cases of mis-speech, tending to instead unconsciously bridge the gaps between what was meant and what was uttered. 

In order to get to the “hidden” funny stuff, you have to learn how to short circuit this wiring.  But the trick doesn’t end there.  Unless you want to become very unpopular, you have to learn how to do this in such a way that won’t interfere with your natural ability to be an accommodating listener.

You’ll find that material will pretty much jump up onto your lap.  The cool thing is that after you’ve noticed something funny, all you have to do is restate it and voila, you’ve made a joke.

There is one down side I should warn you about.  Once you’ve learned to apply this listening method to what other people say, you have by default learned how to apply it to yourself.

Here’s an example:

Person 1:  “I love learning new things.  Yeah, I guess I would say that I enjoy being mentally challenged.”

Person 2:  “I’m glad to hear that.  Some people have a hard time getting over the stigma.”

Person 3:  cracks up

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but in this example I was both Person 1 and Person 2.

Have fun!  Post some of your favorites, if you get a chance.

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