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  • blumenthalej

I ran a team building workshop for 75 funeral home directors, here’s what I learned

A few weeks ago I drove down to French Lick, Indiana (yes let that name sink in for a second) to facilitate one of my comedic team building and professional development workshops at the Rollings Funeral Service’s annual managers meeting.

The first part of that sentence isn’t particularly unusual because that is what I do - I am a comedian who uses improv-based activities to facilitate fun team building workshops for all sorts of companies.

But when I say I did it for a group of 75 funeral home directors, everyone’s ears perk up, a smile sneaks on their face as they gear up to tell me their best funeral joke (they’re never very good!).

Aside from a bad joke or two, here is what I learned when I drove down to French Lick to facilitate my comedic team building workshop for 75 funeral home directors.

(A Knuckleball Comedy team building and professional development workshop in French Lick, Indiana for Rollings Funeral Services)

1. Everyone is more creative than you think they are

I am on the phone everyday with people who are interested in what I do but are worried that their team isn’t creative enough. Whether they own a medium-sized accounting firm, manage a customer support team, or plan large engineering conferences, they hear what I say, like what I say, but wonder, “Will it work if my team isn’t creative?” It will work because your team IS creative, they might not have the opportunity to showcase that everyday, but they are leaps and bounds more creative than you think they are. I have facilitated workshops for thousands of professionals, from real estate agents to computer engineers and of course funeral home directors - they are all hilarious, creative and every group does something I have never thought of before.

2. It’s important we realize #1 (above)

Don’t limit what your company can do by limiting the upside of your employees. In every business there are scripts and processes, and ways things work, but no one has it all figured out. When things aren’t going the way you want them to, don’t be stubborn, realize that your team is actually creative and can solve problems and give them an opportunity to do so. Because everyone is more creative than you think they are, you just need the right way to bring it out of them. (A Knuckleball Comedy workshop is always an option)

3. Funeral home directors are no different than anyone else - they love to laugh

After doing the funeral home workshop, I now feel confident in saying that no matter where, what or who, everyone loves to laugh. Regardless of what they do for work, and funeral home jobs are anything but funny, they still love to laugh and they are just as funny as anyone else too. The question you should be asking isn’t, is my team funny, but rather, how can I give them something to laugh about so they enjoy their work and their colleagues.

4. Active Listening is so important for everybody, funeral directors especially

When I run my professional development and team building workshops, one of the major points I touch on is “Active Listening.” This could be an entire post by itself, but for now let’s discuss the basics. What is active listening? I define it as being truly in the moment when you are conversing with someone. When you are in the moment, not thinking about other things, but focusing on the person you are talking to, you not only listen to what they say, but you internalize it, it makes you think, and you remember it. And most importantly, the other person knows how much you value them and how important this conversation is to them. This concept is important for everyone, both in professional settings but also in our everyday relationships. When I conducted my program for the funeral home directors, this was the point that hit home the hardest with everyone. These directors spend their days talking to people who just lost their loved ones. Day after day they are having similar conversations, it can become hard to stay focused, to be a good active listener. But they must, because the customers must know they are valued, what could be more important than that?

By the way, if you wanted to see what Rollings Funeral Services thought of my program, check out the testimonial below.

"We hired Knuckleball Comedy for our annual convention with our leadership team representing our funeral homes and it was a fantastic choice. I'd say smashing success would be an understatement. Ethan from Knuckleball brought energy, laughter and a ton of value to our meetings. The managers absolutely loved his program, they not only laughed, but had some important takeaways as well that will have a lasting impact in their work. Not to mention Ethan was a pleasure to work with from the start. I'd highly recommend Knuckleball Comedy for your next big team event, convention or conference. And trust me on this, your funeral directors will love it!" --Greg Rollings, Owner of Rollings Funeral Services

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