When the receptionist is in an unnecessary crisis mood – Using your office phone call the receptionist and ask for yourself, don’t disguise your voice. My test went like this:
Me: Yes, is Ralph in?
Receptionist: He is but he’s on the phone would like his voice mail?
Receptionist (after a long pause): Well. . .would you like me to give him a message?
Receptionist (another long pause): Well. . . .Sir, how can I help you?
Me: I want to speak to Ralph.
Receptionist (after an extremely long pause): Ralph is that you?
I started laughing and the phone went dead. She was in my office in a matter of seconds laughing uncontrollably. For the rest of the day every time I walked by her desk she started chuckling.
One that works well at ‘emergency’ meetings is - Finish all your comments with the phrase, “So let it be written, so let it be done.” It was a line used by Pharaoh in the movie the Ten Commandments.
Now the key to this one is two-fold. First, you must have a comment about everything; this is not the time to be silent. Secondly, you need to be patient. It starts with a chuckle or two and continues to build until there are only one or two people in the room who don’t get it. Finally someone will break down and say, “What the @#$% are you talking about?” The entire room will bursts out laughing. That’s a good time for a break.
I’ll keep you posted on future field tests.