Have you heard the one about the CEO and the comedian? No? Well, bosses and humour don't always mix. Their attempts to use laughter as a motivational tool, or to garner popularity, often fall somewhere between excruciating embarrassment and out-and-out inappropriateness. "Big" Nev Wilshire from BBC's fly-on-the-wall documentary The Call Centre is a case in point.
But when harnessed properly, humour and laughter can be powerful tools in and out of the boardroom. And that's where Stephanie Davies comes in. As a former stand-up comic, she is now a behavioural expert and founder of Laughology, a unique enterprise that uses the science of laughter and humour to develop psychology-based programmes that help people in a range of settings, several of which are the boardrooms of blue-chip companies.
Davies works with CEOs, executive teams and workforces in areas such as culture change, creating happy workplaces, staff engagement, communication and presentation skills, and executive coaching. Outside of the boardroom, she has applied her skills to a variety of groundbreaking projects. These include creating the country's first happy-centred school, developing an initiative to encourage resilience and community spirit in a divided area of Bradford and running a rehabilitation programme for service users in a secure mental-health unit.