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Make Them Laugh

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Newcastle-based behavioural consultant Matt Hudson uses a novel way of training people to combat stress - making them laugh.


Stress loses industry millions of pounds every year in absenteeism, physical problems, aggressiveness, tiredness, decreased performance levels, poor morale and high staff turnover – so much so that some of the top 100 companies are now adopting NLP techniques in their training.

Using the unorthodox delivery tool of laughter, NLP trainer Matt Hudson says he is achieving results with many organisations including Business Link, NHS, hospices and various schools in the North-East with laughter-inspired workshops.

“Neuro-Linguistic Programming was specifically created to allow us to do magic by creating new ways of understanding how verbal and non-verbal communication affect the human brain,” he says.

“By asking people what their perceptions are and making them laugh, my workshops demonstrate the logical patterns created in people’s minds everyday which lead to stress – and you’d be surprised how much emotion can be released around the office photocopier!”

Using laughter as a stress remedy and models of the world’s greatest performers as inspiration, Mr Hudson works to break the patterns of thought resulting, he says, in more empowered employees, enhanced performance levels, a healthier working environment and protection against litigation loss.

“I ask company bosses – just how much are they prepared to lose in litigation? A member of staff quits due to a stressful working environment and the employer has to pay a king’s ransom to settle it,” he says.

“Yet if you try to define stress it’s difficult - even the word itself makes you feel down. The universal of stress is people, it is not the job that is stressful – it is environment and the people you work around and for.”

One of the organisations on board with NLP training is Business Link at Sunderland where managers wanted a new approach to their in-house customer care programme.

“I believe most customer service training is void of emotion and robotic – this actually promotes anger and frustration in both the customer and the staff,” said Mr Hudson.

“Only machines have no emotion and we need to come away from that robot-like attitude, which for British businesses is a very scary thing because we are told to keep our work and emotions separate. And yet, whether we like it or not, we are constantly feeling something and that invariably leads to stress when it is not managed.

“The staff at Business Link couldn’t breathe for laughing – and we were only talking about the different ways in which you can say 'no' to a customer.

"The whole idea with the laughter workshop is that it is fun, therapeutic and it makes very profound lessons easy to learn.”

* Matt Hudson works as a NLP trainer, clinical hypnotherapist and university lecturer. For more information on Laughter Workshops go to http://www.matthudson.org.

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