Why so serious? Laughing and playing is also good for business

Laughing your head off at a stupid joke until the tears run. Developing a new team spirit while playing or letting yourself go completely in an activity - we can learn this from children.

29. November 2023

This year's WIRZ cocktail - the 51st, by the way - was dedicated to fun out of conviction. "We live in serious times. What do we actually have left to laugh about?" asked WIRZ Co-CEO Livio Dainese at the beginning and concluded: "Humor is when you laugh anyway. If you laugh, you take off your armor. Only those who loosen up inside come up with new ideas." And called on all guests to leave their reservations at the checkroom with their coats and jackets. And that was no problem: most of the 300 or so guests put on their red clown noses for the photo.
Petra Dreyfus, Co-Ceo, wreathed her colleague Dainese in humor, even if it is sometimes very surprising, especially in meetings with strangers: "Most of the time I'm glad for Livio's jokes." These have already given many a meeting a whole new direction.
The exercise by laughter coach Christian Hablützel, a guest on the podium, in which problems were to be put in the hand and then put away, was also willingly participated in by everyone - although some only smiled gently instead of laughing out loud. Nevertheless, the desired effect was achieved: playfulness makes us more relaxed, releases dopamine and thus brings feelings of happiness.

Playing and laughing to combat stress

Experts who are professionally involved with fun and games populated the WIRZ podium, moderated by SRF philosopher Barbara Bleisch. Roberto Siano, gamer and psychologist (also a lecturer at the ZHAW), uses games to introduce new employees, for negotiations or innovation tasks. He combines games and fun with business: "As a team leader, I can also start a meeting with a short game, which creates a good framework, but sometimes requires courage," he explained. The game "Three lies, one truth" is such an ice-breaker, which also provides plenty to talk about.

Angela Vögtli from Gamorama Lucerne, a games museum, relies on the power of games: "Kampf gegen das Bünzlitum" or "Arschlochkind" are the names of the games she has developed, which have achieved bestseller status. They rely on humor, which she herself - who grew up without a TV but with a Töggelikasten - also demonstrated on the podium. "I can laugh at myself when things go wrong, like yesterday when I hungrily ordered a pizza to Zurich instead of Lucerne," says Vögtli. Dominic Deville, who gave up his TV satire show in spring after 150 episodes, is more inclined towards black humor. He admitted on the podium: "Comedians are not necessarily funny people. Humor work is bookkeeping". He still got a laugh when he admitted to having "demolished entire apartments" when losing games. Laughter trainer, clown and laughter yoga coach Christian Hablützel also brought in a serious side: "Laughing and crying are very close together. And there are studies that show that people laugh more in uncertain times."

Playfulness and being silly for well-being

Laughing and playing relaxes and creates a new sense of community - the panel participants agreed on this. And a courageous jump into the colorful ball pool, which some of the guests made active use of, not only brought many laughs, but also provided a feeling of being back in childhood. Or did this year's WIRZ cocktail just lay the foundations for a whole new business idea?

Photographer: Valeriano diDomenico (www.valerianodidomenico.ch)

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