In this episode, Steve Cody joins On Top of PR host Jason Mudd to discuss Steve’s book, “The ROI of LOL,” and how effective comedy within the workplace is.
Tune in to learn more!
Short Guest Bio
Steve is the author of “The ROI of LOL: How Laughter Breaks Down Walls, Drives Compelling Storytelling, and Creates a Healthy Workplace.” He’s also a comedian, climber, and dog lover, but not necessarily in that order.
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5 things you’ll learn during the full episode:
- What compelled Steve to write “The ROI of LOL”
- The reaction of comedy in the workplace
- Why humor/laughter is so important for companies
- How a company can measure the ROI of LOL
- Where the implementation of comedy in an organization can occur
About Steve Cody
Steve Cody is a multifaceted individual, blending his love for climbing, comedy, and writing. From summiting the highest peaks in Africa and Europe to raising over $50,000 for charities through stand-up comedy shows, he finds pride in diverse accomplishments. Additionally, as a writer, he contributes to Inc.com, maintains a daily blog, and has made notable appearances on CNBC, MSNBC, NPR, and other prominent media outlets, as well as authoring his book: "The ROI of LOL."
- “We conduct a lot of due diligence ahead of time. We understand what the guidelines and guardrails are for each organization's culture.” - Steve Cody
- “When in doubt, leave it out.” - Steve Cody
- “Consumers trust corporations more than anyone else right now. I think that means that we’re in a weird place right now.” - Jason Mudd
- “I’m a big believer that a fun work environment is not only going to be a better place to work but it's also going to generate more creativity and innovation within the organization.” - Jason Mudd
- “It has to be authentic. It has to be meaningful.” - Steve Cody
Additional Episode Resources:
Additional Resources from Axia Public Relations:
[01:39] What compelled Steve to write this book?
- There has been a rise in anxiety and tension in the workplace over the past few years.
- He co-wrote it with his comedian friend, Clayton Fletcher.
- He believes comedy is one of the last lifelines that people can cling to.
- He believes the workplace could benefit from a dose of comedy.
[05:18] How has the reaction to comedy in your workplace and work been?
Steve: “We conduct a lot of due diligence ahead of time. We understand what the guidelines and guardrails are for each organization's culture.”
Steve: “When in doubt, leave it out.”
- People have mixed feelings about introducing comedy into the workplace.
- Steve says the key is making it work-appropriate comedy.
- It’s not for everyone and every company!
[07:10] Why are humor and laughter more important in business than ever?
Jason: “Consumers trust corporations more than anyone else right now. I think that means that we’re in a weird place right now.”
- There are more angry people in the workplace now than during the pandemic.
- There are a lot of new challenges and problems for C-suite executives.
- More empathetic leaders will bring more comedy into the workplace.
- It's a great way to turn a business meeting or pitch around.
- If there’s silence, being able to joke that this means they are speechless about the pitch is a great way to get the conversation going.
Jason: “I’m a big believer that a fun work environment is not only going to be a better place to work but it's also going to generate more creativity and innovation within the organization.”
Steve: “It has to be authentic. It has to be meaningful.”
[18:16] How can a middle manager try to incorporate comedy when their boss doesn’t want to?
- You can’t force humor.
- When an executive doesn’t want to make a change, show them what their competitors are doing.
- Let the work you do speak for itself.
[26:25] How might a company calculate the ROI of LOL
- Steve helped break down the walls between four communication departments in a company and used stand-up/improv tactics to help them narrow down to one common messaging theme.
- Another company used Steve’s improv techniques to expand their minds and help them brainstorm for their next year’s marketing strategies.
[29:33] Where does the implementation of LOL in a company start?
- Typically, it starts with its head of internal communications.
- Other times, C-suite employees read the book and call to learn more.
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Welcome to On Top of PR with Jason Mudd, presented by Review Max.
Hello, and welcome to On Top of pr. I'm your host, Jason Mudd of Axia Public Relations, and today we are joined by Steve Cody as our special guest. We are here to talk about his new book, “The ROI of LOL: How Laughter Breaks Down Walls, Drives Compelling Storytelling, and Creates a Healthy Workplace.” Steve, welcome to On Top of PR.
Thank you very much, Jason. I appreciate the opportunity.
Yeah, I'm glad to be here and glad you are too, Steve. We met each other years ago, probably in 2012 in New Orleans –– I think at the PRSA conference –– and I remember really enjoying your presentation and here we're talking about your new book and you're doing kind of a speaking tour about it and a book tour. I'm a big fan of comedy and I think there, if you can demonstrate the ROI of laughing out loud, then I want to hear more about it. So real quick, let me just share your bio with our audience here. Steve Cody is a multifaceted individual, blending his love for climbing, comedy, and riding from summiting the highest peaks in Africa and Europe to raising over $50,000 for charities through standup comedy show shows. He finds pride in diverse accomplishments. Additionally, as a writer, he contributes to Inc.com and has notable appearances on C-N-B-C, N-B-C, N-P-R, and other prominent media outlets as well as authoring this new book. So Steve, start us off by telling me what made you decide to write this book.
The book was a long way in coming, but it really wasn't until 2016 and all of the seismic events that we saw happen from that point on. And then the pandemic and the work-life balance issues, the rise of isolation, anxiety, and anger in the workplace that more and more people urged me to write something. And I thought it was best that I co-author it with my longtime cohort, a professional comedian Clayton Fletcher. It wasn't a hard sell. We had two publishers come after us once we put together the one-page outline because humor is definitely of the moment. It is one of the last lifelines I believe that we can all cling to. And I think it's needed now more than ever in the workplace, in society in general. So that is what compelled me and my co-author Clayton Fletcher, to write the book. And it's not just Clayton and Steve. We have countless anecdotes from chief communications officers, and chief marketing officers, all about how they use humor, and laughter, both in the workplace and to chill out and diffuse after a very intense day.
Yeah, yeah, I love it. Love it. Comedy has definitely saved my sanity as a small business owner for sure, and I've done a little bit of standup comedy myself enough to appreciate just how hard it is and how challenging it is, but at the same time how rewarding it is. But you have to stick with it. You have to work hard, and I don't think people realize how much work goes into putting in even just a five-minute set, much less a 30-minute or an hour set.
Yeah, very, very true. I got the bug back around 2008, and I performed for two straight years, maybe three nights a week, and at the very best, I became mediocre. My professional and personal motto remains to expect less both on stage and off. But what I found Jason was after two straight years of performing stand up and improv, I wasn't becoming a better comedian, but I was becoming a better communicator, better listener, I think a more empathetic leader. And I thought a lot of these skills that I've learned on stage would be transferable to the workplace.
And now as part of our DNA, we tie it into our charitable gift giving at the end of the year, and now we also offer it to quite a few clients who are dealing with myriad challenges in the workplace. So when you're in a new business pitch as you can appreciate, and the prospect says, “So what differentiates you from the three other firms?” I say, well, we're good. But one thing that the others can't talk about is having comedy as their DNA. And the comedy has had a major impact on attracting and retaining talent. Our annual turnover rate for the last three or four years is below 10%. And as you know, if you can attract and retain the best people, they in turn will attract and retain the best clients. So there's a method to the madness behind the comedy.
Good. Yeah, I like that. So, have you ever had anybody be turned off by the comedy approach or have their guard up because you're talking about comedy and they're worried about their organization being sensitive to those things?
All the time. The first thing I hear is, well, I don't know, and well, that just won't take hold here, or, yeah, I'm really worried. We live in a cancel culture. So what typically, we've done so many of these and we have so many great references who can say that we conduct a lot of due diligence ahead of time. We understand what the guidelines and the guardrails are for each organization's culture, and we make sure that before we do any training with a client's employees, we make clear that they're not performing content that would be appropriate at Caroline's at 1 a.m. on a Sunday, but in a conference room at 8:30 in the morning.
And, when in doubt, leave it out. And knock on wood, we haven't had any issues whatsoever. But yeah, that's a definite concern that comes up. As a matter of fact, in one conversation I was having with the CCO of a top financial services company, he said, Steve, not only do we not laugh at my company, we don't even smile. If I were to bring this to my CEO, I would be fired on the spot. So I felt badly for him because I wouldn't want to be in his shoes. I mean, this is not right for every organization. It's not right for every culture because the person sitting in the corner office, whether that's physical or virtual, he or she dictates the tone and the culture and what is and is not appropriate. So there are some people on Wall Street, there's also an individual who runs a company with a single letter, the last letter in the alphabet, who I wouldn't even dare suggest they inject comedy or humor in their cultures.
Yeah, interesting. Well, tell me why is humor and laughter in business more important than ever?
Well, again, just look around. All you have to do is look at the news. All you have to do is read all the surveys. The Wall Street Journal ran an article last week saying that there are more angry people in the workplace now than at any point in time during the pandemic, anxiety, isolation, and depression. There are so many different challenges that the CCO, the head of internal communications, and the CEOs are dealing with all new challenges and all new problems, and the other pillars of society have kind of fallen by the wayside, most notably the political pillar. So the trust is at an all-time low.
So I think more and more employees and surveys back this up are turning to their employees to provide a safe place. And part of that safe place in the right culture is providing a safe place to laugh out loud, enjoy each other's company, learn new things about each other, break down silos, and find new ways to collaborate and innovate. So I think, it's more of the moment and will become increasingly important as more and more empathetic leaders enter the C-suite.
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's great. We'll do our best to include a link to the Wall Street Journal article that you mentioned in the episode notes so that people can check that out as well. There's the annual trust barometer that comes out once a year, and it's said that consumers trust corporations more than any other entity at this time. And I think that tells you we're in a weird state, right? When people are trusting corporations more than any other entity, what do you think about that, Steve?
Well, sure, you look back 10 or 15 years ago and businesses were at the very bottom, but now there's the media politics. I mean, you name it. There's been so much misinformation and disinformation that this is the last life preserver. Businesses who can comport themselves the right way are the last life preserver for employees who desperately want to believe that there is hope for the future.
As you know, Gen Z, there've been a lot of studies that they don't think there's going to be much of a bright future for them, and they're not worried about never paying back their student loans, or maxing out their credit cards. They're living for the moment. So it's a very, very strange dynamic in which we live right now. And if we can find the right way to put a smile on someone's face or inject humor at the right time in the right way, I think that goes a long way towards making an organization more employee-friendly and employer of choice. And it helps differentiate and it helps with brainstorming and innovating, and I believe it's going to be critical to not just surviving but thriving in the future.
Yeah. I'm a big believer that a fun work environment, a playful work environment is not only going to be a better place to work, but it's also going to generate more creativity and more innovation within the organization. There was a season in our agency history where we went 63 months with zero turnovers, and I attribute that to giving a lot of autonomy away, giving a lot of permission to have fun, and having a playful attitude within our organization.
Yeah, absolutely. And what you're finding too is that it has to be authentic. So it's not enough to give the employees food or a ping pong table or whatever. It has to be meaningful. So in terms of providing a workplace and a culture where, A) it's okay to have fun and B) I lead with self-deprecating humor, I'm the first one to point the finger at myself and say, I made a mistake. I point out my foibles media training 101, but if an employee asks me a question, and I don't know the answer, I will say, I don't know the answer, but I will try to find out and get back to you.
And I think during the pandemic, our comedy-based culture helped us deal with all of the uncertainty. And I kept on saying, I will speak to you every week, two days or more every week. I will give you updates as I know them, but I don't want to overpromise and underdeliver. And if you remember, there were quite a few high-profile CEOs in the PR world who at the beginning of the pandemic promised there would not be any downsizing, and then a month or two later, they downsized 500 people. So I don't want to be that person. I've never been that person. And so I think the humor part of it helped us collectively get through the pandemic, and we've really been soaring since.
Yeah, that's great. So yeah, I can agree with that. And I always tell people, and clients advise them, never say never, right? That's so key. And so never say, there's never going to be layoffs, and we would never do this because you don't know when your circumstances are going to change. And when you're thinking about core values and things like that, obviously there are times when you can associate the word never with, we would never do these kinds of things, but as your company grows, you lose control of some of those things.
And obviously, there are people in your organization who could do those things that violate your core values. Of course, you can deal with those people and deal with those situations, but at the end of the day, you can't say that your company would never do those things if somebody else did it. Now, it's one thing if you're in the C-suite or the CEO like you and I are, and you say, hey, we're not going to do layoffs, then hopefully you can honor those things, but you just never know. And so it doesn't make sense to make promises you can't fulfill.
Absolutely. Absolutely. That's how you lose the credibility with your employee base. The other thing is representing clients or organizations who intrinsically are bad actors, but because you may need the billings or whatever you decide you're going to do this anyway, so we have two core categories we won't touch. I don't necessarily need to name them, but we are strictly adherent to not going near either one of those.
And if there's anything that's gray, we'll talk it over with our employees first. We have a new potential client, but they do X. Any of you uncomfortable with that? Do you think that this would undermine our purpose, our values, our mission? We're not going to undermine our core values and how we see ourselves just to win a new piece of business, right?
Yeah, that's exactly right. And you can't underestimate how valuable that is to your employees to know that there's leadership that's looking beyond the dollar leadership that has a vision and commitment to honoring the reputation and the work. And so we've had some of those serious conversations as well, as you might imagine, and I'm sure you've been there.
We've been literally in the middle of a pitch and we've just decided, you know what? This is not a good fit for our agency. And literally just wrapped it up right then and there, either by phone, by Zoom, or in person. And I just think that's so important. And it's so funny how the tables turn. You're in the middle of pitching a company and suddenly they're pitching you on why you should stay. And it's like, we've already made this decision. We appreciate that.
Yeah, absolutely. And I think on the occasions where we have had a bad client, whether they are abusive or they're stringing us out in payments, I think it sends a great signal to your employees when everyone agrees this client is just not right, and we fire the client, I think that sends such a strong message to the rest of the agency that it's not all about the money, that it is about aligning with client organization who share some of the same values, whose company we enjoy and they enjoy our company and we're doing great work together. So I think that's really critical to the health and well-being of any agency.
And Steve, for our audience, the clients that get the best work are the ones that have that chemistry and that vibe is a good fit and the culture is a good fit. And so when we resign an account or we lose an account, you can almost point to the moment you knew that it wasn't going well and whether we should have stepped up or they should have stepped up and communicated that it is something you can do a postmortem on later.
But I always try, as soon as I sense something is wrong to try to bring it up and humor and self-deprecating humor is sometimes the better way to do that. And so then people don't feel like they have to have their guard up and you lower that barrier, if you will, and you give them an opportunity to say, Hey, I don't think you were happy with this, or I don't think this went the way that we wanted, or we mutually wanted, and that kind of thing. Has that been your experience as well?
Oh, absolutely. Whether it's a new business pitch or an ongoing client to whom we're sending ideas on a new product, I really have learned, thanks to comedy, how to use silence to my advantage. So many of my sets were met with profound silence, whether it was a new business presentation or if it's an existing client meeting in which for whatever reason things aren't going well and our ideas are being met with profound silence, I always say, I know why you're so silent. You're thinking what a great idea that was.
I have to share that with the rest of my direct reports which immediately transforms the dynamics in a new business pitch. It doesn't necessarily transform it to the point where you're going to win it, but certainly with existing client relationships and with the longstanding ones, and we have quite a few, our clients know that we like to employ humor in the right way, and many of them come to our comedy training, attend our charitable fundraisers, share our sense of humor, so they'll inject humor if they don't think a meeting's going well, self-deprecating humor. So it works both ways.
Yeah. So Steve, what would you say if somebody is listening to our episode today and they're thinking, I work at one of these corporations, or I feel like humor is not appreciated, or my boss has no sense of humor or no patience for having a sense of humor. Maybe they've got a client that just doesn't have a sense of humor. What would be some of the advice you would give them besides maybe finding a new employer?
Well, you can't force this, but what you can do, and we often do this, when a client's CEO or senior executive just doesn't want to make a change, we'll show her or him what their competitors are doing and how competitors have made this pivot. So when we have, maybe it's a middle manager who really wants to sell in stand-up or improvisational or sketch comedy, we share results from other organizations in similar industries.
We've worked in so many different industries that we have great case studies, we have referenceable clients, so we let the client work speak for itself, and hopefully, that can arm the middle manager or whoever the advocate is for bringing in comedy to perhaps change the mind of the key decision maker. But again, going back to the key decision maker, if she or he doesn't believe there's a place in the organization or the culture for anyone to laugh or smile, then there's no point in pursuing it.
Yeah, yeah. There should be a list of companies that have no sense of humor, and you never apply for a job there. You never try to work with somebody there.
It's a great idea. Actually, Jason, I may have to brainstorm that one.
I've never really spent a lot of time thinking about it. If I'm being honest now, I do have a list in my mind of companies I'd never want to work with again or never want to recommend somebody to work with or just people in leadership roles or client contact roles. They move employers and things like that.
I'll tell you one funny thing. I don’t know if it's funny; it's ironic actually. But in the 10 or 12 years we've been offering this to client organizations and or organizations that aren't clients, the ones that run the funniest TV spots or social media spots are often the ones that say, well, that's just us on the outside. We are all sales, all business all the time. We would not want laughter or humor in our workplace.
We've done our best work with some of the most serious organizations you can imagine, including defense contractors, accounting firms, major banks, and very serious companies with very serious messaging and very serious challenges. Those are the ones, ironically, who are most open to embracing standup and improvisational humor, whether it's to break down silos, reinvent storytelling, or connect with our stakeholder communities in new and unexpected ways. So it's really been fascinating in that regard.
You are listening to On Top of PR with your host, Jason Mudd. Jason is a trusted advisor to some of America's most admired and fastest-growing brands. He's the managing partner at Axia Public Relations, a PR agency that guides news, social, and web strategies for national companies. And now back to the show.
Steve, I don't know how you feel about this, but speaking of companies that advertise, I feel like a lot of the companies I see trying to use humor in advertising are just, it's so bland or just not even that funny that it almost makes me just scratch my head and say, do they really think this is funny to somebody? And if so, do they think that it's going to motivate people to do business with them?
So I know in advertising, like anything, you've got to stand out from the clutter. You're spending a lot of money, so you don't want people just to ignore you. But at the same time, I just see some of these, mostly commercials, that are trying to be funny, and they just completely miss, I think the mark of that.
Yeah, I completely agree. There are so many that after I've seen the 32nd spot, I won't remember who the product or the company is. What are they trying to sell me? Because their company went so off the rails and didn't connect with me they lost me. I just had no idea what they were trying to sell me. But obviously, comedy does have a place, if it does really hit the nail on the head in terms of breaking through to, again, putting themselves in the customer's shoes, what will resonate with the target audience? Will they respond well to humor?
As you know, every generation responds to humor in a very different way. So this is a delicate art, especially from an advertising standpoint. One of the other things that we really stress in all of the standup and improvisational work is always put yourself in the target audience's shoes before you come up with a bit before you come up with improvisational bit sketch comedy, think about the target audience who you're trying to reach. How would they react to this standup or this improvisational troupe? So we're always audience-focused.
So to build off what I just asked you, I'm always shocked when I see companies advertising on a network like Comedy Central and they haven't taken the opportunity to create an ad specifically trying to be funny and insert that into Comedy Central as opposed to just running the same ad they run everywhere else. And these are companies you and I both know have a budget to produce a custom spot for a fraction of the price of what they're spending to be on Comedy Central. To me, that's just a huge whiff. Is there something else I'm missing?
No, you're not missing anything. It's the media buyer not doing his or her homework. I don’t know about you, but I watch a lot of the NFL games on Sunday. I'm a long-suffering Jets fan, and I noticed there are the typical ones that you'd expect, the beer and the cars, and then all of a sudden there's this very esoteric men's cologne commercial that comes out of nowhere. And I'm thinking to myself, I think they missed the target demographic on this. I think this is not going to play well in Corning, Iowa.
So you're spot on in terms of really bland commercials on Comedy Central or a TV spot sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of an NFL football game in between ads for Chili's or McDonald's or Chevrolet or whatever. And all of a sudden you see this incredibly well-orchestrated, well-shot, beautifully choreographed commercial that I really don't think is aimed at the average football fan.
Yeah, that's a good point. That's a really good point. It's a shame you think it's the media buyer's fault, not somebody who's kind of overarching, overseeing both the creative and the strategy of where they're going to go.
Certainly the buck should stop with that individual. And obviously all the self-inflicted wounds we've seen over the past year or so always should be the responsibility of whether it's the chief marketing, the chief communications officer, not defending them when they do make mistakes, but there's so much going on in their worlds, they're so overwhelmed that they sometimes will place their trust on lieutenants who may be over their heads.
And I do think looking at, I mean, everyone's been talking about Bud Light as the, well, I don't know what the opposite of the gold standard is, maybe the tin standard, but clearly the CMO, and I think his direct report were let go, were fired, but there were other people in that food chain who made those decisions, moved them up the corporate ladder. So I don't think it was one or two people in that instance. And I think it's rare that it's just one or two person or people who are responsible, but the buck should stop at the senior management level. Absolutely.
So getting back to the book for a minute, how, how have you recommended that a company calculate the ROI of LOL?
Sure. Well, again, we faced so many different challenges. So for example, we recently worked with a top bank, and their challenge was that they had four different departments within their overarching marketing communications function, internal, external, special events, and social. And when the CCO took a look, he realized that the four groups were sending out four completely different messages to the very same stakeholder audiences. So we were brought in to break down the silos, use quite a few different standup and improvisational exercises. We broke them down, mixed them up, made sure that they were working with people from other parts of the department and put them through exercises.
And at the end of the day, after they had learned how to listen to each other, to story build, we asked them to create a compelling narrative they could all agree on, starting with putting the narrative in a 62nd overview, distilling it down to 30 seconds, and then doing 10 seconds with a hashtag. And we asked them to put everything up in the front of the room and that we had them circle the four or five key messages they all agreed upon. And lo and behold, we're getting much better audience response, better understanding, and especially on social, really crisp, compelling content that their subject matter experts are suddenly gaining scores of new followers. That's just one example.
Another example is a major global automotive company with a plant in the south where every conceivable divide exists. There's a red state, blue state, high school dropout, Ph.D., European Senior Leadership, middle America, middle management. And when we first did our pre-training surveys, the one word that came out was friction. Nobody got along with each other, nobody trusted each other. So over the past year and a half, this has been part of an ongoing employee engagement program, but every month or two, we do ongoing improv and stand up to make sure they're enjoying each other's company. They're collaborating with each other. And it's gotten to the point where the senior management team asks us to do a half hour, a half day rather of improv for the senior executives, and then they go off for their retreat and they put together next year's plan as a direct result because their minds are so open and they're so used to collaborating and they know each other in so new in different ways that it works.
Interesting. Yeah. So that begs the question to me, does this start in your mind in corporate communication, does it start in HR? Does it need to start in the C-suite? Does it need to start from the top executive within the organization or location or division? Where would you prescribe or where do you see this working out best?
Sure. We just spoke to a company where they want us to work with their salesforce, and it was the head of sales. So typically it's the head of internal comm, chief communications officer, chief human resource officer. But there have been other instances where someone's read the book and a CIO will call us and say, my department just is not getting along. I'm not getting anything done. I think a day long activity, the ones you do, might bring us better together.
So we've literally worked for everyone within the C-suite, and I think there'll be more and more opportunities with the chief risk officer because there are just so many unforeseen risks out there, especially leading up to the 2024 election. There's going to be such a need for the workplace to be perhaps the one place of sanity where people can turn. So I foresee a lot of opportunities for us to help organizations find the right way to inject humor when it's going to get very dark and very divisive very, very soon.
Yeah, I tend to agree with that. In fact, I saw a statistic just the other day of Biden's approval rating being at an all time low and the percentage of people that gave an approval rating, I felt in my mind immediately when I heard it, Steve; I said to myself, that's got to be the people who would just say yes. If you just ask them, they're going to agree that their party candidate is doing a fine job, and they will always say yes to that.
So when I started thinking about that, that was really dawning on me just how low that approval rating must be. And I'm not trying to be political, I'm just saying there are people who are loyal to their party no matter what happens. And we see that every election cycle. So it was concerning to me to kind of look at that, and there's a lot of talk about just who the two candidates might be, and I think that should concern anybody at this point.
No question about it. I didn't live during the Civil War, the years leading up to the Civil War, but the other thing that worries me is the mass shootings, and there's so many people who are carrying around AR fifteens and nine millimeter Glocks, and if they don't like the outcome of the election, regardless of what side they're on, I really do worry about serious violence. I just think we're a powder keg right now.
Yeah, yeah. Well, I feel like we had enough violence in, what was it, 2016 and again in 2020 that I'm a big advocate of not having those things happen. And I think we have to figure out how do we best manage that individually and as a country? And I'm not sure I have the answer, but at the end of the day, I think that I'm all in favor of peaceful protests. I think when you start destroying personal property in the process, then there needs to be some sort of governance that happens there. And I'm not sure I have the answer for it, Steve.
Yeah, I don't know that anyone Jason does, and I think that's part of the problem. But I try not to worry about what I can't control and focus on, right? What I can control, and certainly within my own organization with the clients that allow us to work with them in terms of not only doing great work in terms of getting the media results and employee engagement programs but also those that allow us to help them break down silos, work with their people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, isolation.
It's extremely rewarding. And it's something I never thought that I would be involved in 10 or 15 years ago when I was just doing basic public relations work for my clients. But it's incredibly rewarding to go through one of these sessions and just see the zeitgeist of whether it's a department or an entire organization, change literally within five or six hours. Obviously you need to reinforce that. It can't be done as a one-off, but it's a whole new way of giving it back, paying it forward, and hopefully making some sort of contribution in this massive confusion.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, Steve, this has been a great conversation. I've really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to getting deeper into the book, and certainly we'll hope to see you at a future conference perhaps, where maybe the two of us can collaborate together in some way where maybe we have a workshop or something like that where you could kind of show us what you do and we could be mindful of referring other people to you. So speaking of if people want to connect with you and get a copy of your book, is Amazon a good place for us to give them a link?
Yes, Amazon is, and we actually have also set up a separate website to buy and for the book, which is www.roilol.com.
Okay, excellent. Well, we'll be sure to put a link to that inside the episode notes as well as put a link to your personal LinkedIn so people can reach out to you there. Is that a good place to catch you?
That would be the ideal place, Jason.
Alright, perfect. Perfect. And do yourself a favor. If you reach out to Steve, be sure to tell him that you heard him on On Top of PR, so he just doesn't think you're some random person trying to sell him something, right, Steve?
Absolutely. Give me the source.
That's right. That's how I am. If somebody just sends me a generic request and I don't recognize them, I'm moving on. If they send me a reason why we should connect, then I'm going to give it a second look for sure. And I just keep recommending that to our loyal audience. They've heard me say it a hundred times by now probably, but it's amazing how many people don't do it.
Yeah, you're right.
Steve, any closing thoughts? I have one more question for you.
No, my only closing thoughts are, again, this is something that I think can benefit many organizations, many departments, but not all. And I do think that laughter and humor in the workplace is arriving. It's now a required course, by the way, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It's now a required course at Emerson College. It's now a required course at DePaul University. So there are so many skills, again in comedy that translate to business that I think you'll see more and more of this in the business world.
Yeah, I completely agree. So somebody posted on social media today, you made me think about this. So what's your go-to recording this on Dec. 11, 2023? What's your go-to Christmas comedy movie? And I have a few nominees if you'd like to hear them, unless you've just got to go.
Sure. Well, I've always loved the Christmas Carol, but it's not a funny movie, but I think it's the most compelling Christmas movie. But go ahead, give me the others.
The options were a Christmas story, a Christmas Vacation, Elf, or Office Christmas Party, which is probably not as well known.
I'm a Chevy Chase fan from way back when. So I would go with Christmas Vacation –– phenomenal movie.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. The person that posted this was trying to make the point that it's associated with generations, and I said, you know what? I think they're all movies that, well, maybe the exception of Office Christmas Party that would be appropriate for any age, for the most part, and that anybody would really enjoy
You look at, not that it's necessarily a Christmas movie, but It's A Wonderful Life that transcends generations. Right.
Absolutely. Yeah, we talked about that and watched that over Thanksgiving for sure. Yeah. Alright, Steve. Hey, this has been fun for me. I hope it was fun for you. At some point, maybe we'll do something else where the two of us can do some dad jokes back and forth, or try to do some kind of comedy together on a topic that is a little lighter. But at the same time, this is something very important. If you haven't gotten a copy of Steve's book, I highly encourage it. Click on the episode notes and get your copy today. So with that, this is Jason Mudd from Axia Public Relations signing off and trying our best to help you stay on top of PR. Be well.
This has been On Top of PR with Jason Mudd, presented by ReviewMaxer. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. Check out past shows at ontopofpr.com.
- On Top of PR is produced by Axia Public Relations, named by Forbes as one of America’s Best PR Agencies. Axia is an expert PR firm for national brands.
- On Top of PR is sponsored by ReviewMaxer, the platform for monitoring, improving, and promoting online customer reviews.
About your host Jason Mudd
On Top of PR host, Jason Mudd, is a trusted adviser and dynamic strategist for some of America’s most admired brands and fastest-growing companies. Since 1994, he’s worked with American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Southern Comfort, and Verizon. He founded Axia Public Relations in July 2002. Forbes named Axia as one of America’s Best PR Agencies.
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