By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to sharpen your ability to maintain control of a situation with humor. Reading time: 3:14.
When First Lady Nancy Reagan was criticized for her taste in expensive china and designer clothes, the wife of the President of the United States told reporters that she was not acting like a queen. “After all a tiara would surely muss my hair,” she grinned with her tongue firmly in her cheek.
In the 1858 senate race in Illinois, Stephen Douglas called Abe Lincoln a “two-faced man.” Lincoln calmly responded: “If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”
And when Mohandas Gandhi was asked if he was embarrassed to visit the King of England dressed only in a loin cloth, Gandhi replied “Oh no, the King has on quite enough for both of us.”
Ah, the art of the quip–a powerful leadership tool –that can turn potentially embarrassing situations into amusing distractions and help a leader maintain control more with a hearty laugh than a hardened hand.
To help you sharpen your own wits and enhance your leadership thinking, here are a few quips I’ve collected over the years that leaders have used to humor their audiences in stressful circumstances.
- A college professor walked into to a lecture hall and found that his students had moved out all the chairs. The professor put down his notes, looked up and said triumphantly: Thank you for that standing ovation, amazing there’s so much interest in my talk tonight that every seat in the house is taken.” Continue reading