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Business is no laughing matter... or is it?

Business is no laughing matter…..or is it?

Pat Armitstead is organising the inaugural Humour in Business Awards for New Zealand, which invites business people to submit their “winning humour and wit “entries in three different categories, vying for the best score from the jesting judges. Awards need to be documented and submitted by the 1st April 2006 and the winners will be notified on the Awards night World Laughter Day ,May 1st. The Awards, whose major sponsor is the Business to Business newspaper, are a perfect prelude to the 2006 Comedy Festival. The trophies are unique awards that are wall décor and a piece of fun themselves themselves and will be awarded at a night of fun at the Academy Cinema in Auckland.

A non profit event, the Awards aim to recognize the contribution humour makes to the lives of business owners, staff and customers.

She cites from “The most popular course at Harvard this semester teaches happiness. The final numbers came in this week: Positive Psychology, a class whose content resembles that of many a self-help book but is grounded in serious psychological research, has enrolled 855 students, beating even Introductory Economics”.

She says that people perform to optimum, in high trust environments, where they are rewarded for having fun doing what it is that they love. The role of humour and being good humoured cannot be overlooked, especially in the face of World Health Organization statistics which cite depression as currently world health burden number four and by 2020 they predict it will be number two. Armitstead declares that the awards are a tribute to people who suffer with depression and by 2020 she aspires to convert global pessimism to optimism!

The categories for the awards are :- 1/ sole operator, 2/ up to 20 staff and 3/ over 20 staff. An overall winner will be selected from these three. Individuals or businesses can submit an entry based on leadership, team building, advertising, sales and marketing and/or customer service. Armitstead says the purpose is to encourage and discover the essence of being good humoured and how that impacts on encounters and builds relationships. It is not necessarily about the most sophisticated application of humour or the best use of jokes, though these are all part of what it means to be good humoured.

She says “To be good humoured is to be appropriately responsive and to use the effective communication that comes from that. Entries need to demonstrate the way in which you have either planned or inadvertently affected business outcomes as a result of a humourous event or strategy.!”

Wade Jackson from the Covert Theatre, Tony Falkenstein from Just Water International and Barbara Plester, PHD Student studying humour in the workplace for her thesis, will form the Jesting Jury. Application forms are available from and more information and support can be obtained by emailing


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