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Funny videos for dealing with difficult people

Funny videos: a serious use Funny videos can be more than just a bit of fun. Funny videos can sometimes be used in the workplace, and in team meetings or workshops, to set a relaxed atmosphere/get people's attention, make memorable/useful points, or diffuse tense situations.

Funny videos are especially useful when you have some difficult people to deal with, who are unaware of the impact they are having on everyone else. Humour, used appropriately, can bring the issue into their awareness in an acceptable way, and be more effective than confronting the behaviour directly.

Guidelines on use

There are some vital rules you should follow that can make the different between funny videos being funny and insightful, or offensive and making the situation worse:
  1. The funny video should 'plant the seed of thought' and not make a point directly.
  2. You should avoid giving the message "this applies to you" (which will almost guarantee rejection), leaving the person to decide for themselves who it applies to (the easier it is for them to reject, the more likely they'll take on board the point). To make this easier, ideally some aspect of the video should be true of you as well.
  3. Ignore any initial rejection of the point of the video (which is normal)
  4. Have confidence in yourself, maintain your own good self-esteem, and be prepared for an initial negative reaction.
    • the difficult person may turn the video on you, saying it is true of you (you shouldn't react or be upset by that).
    • the initial reaction may be to claim you are getting at them (don't agree)
    • in either case, you should treat the video as a point of humour. If you are forced to give a serious reply, it should be along the lines of "we are all like that to some extent, me included". This is true: the point made in the video will be true of both of you between 1% and 100%. But don't declare who you think it is more true of, or how much!
  5. Once the seed of thought has been planted, let it grow (ie: assume the person will think about it).
  6. It is very important that the funny video is not used to "put down" the other person, whether privately or in public, or make the point that you are better (otherwise it will backfire).
  7. The main purpose of sharing the video is to build a stronger friendship connection between you, which will mitigate the difficulties of the other person. This can be reinforced if there is clearly some characteristic portrayed in the video that you both share.
  8. The video should only be relevant to behaviour that can be changed, not someone's identity (they can't change who they are, but can change their behaviour)
  9. Only use funny videos to "nip things in the bud", before the situation has escalated. Don't use them when the conflict has become serious.

Final Cautions

Using humour to make a point can be very powerful, but is also risky. There is no guarantee that video clips will achieve the desired effect, but they may work in some situations. To maximise the chances of success, you need to follow the guidelines above.

And before you send that video, remember that it usually takes two people to create a conflict - so ask yourself, are you the difficult person, or does some aspect of your behaviour need to change for the situation to improve?

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