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Want to Increase Your Chances of Getting that Job, Raise, or Discount?

02/06/2008 02:07 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

I have an informative tale to tell... which begins with a tiny tail -
the one attached to my very cute little dog Maxine - a miniature
terrier -- my better 1/8th.

I often "multi-task" walking Maxine with doing errands - especially
errands where I know there might be long lines - like going to the
bank or Fedex. I figure not only might Maxine benefit from some good
heavy petting -- but -- all those bored and impatient people can get
some good licks in -- and the playful warmth exchanged is very win/win.

Last month I had a major computer meltdown -- and so I invited Maxine
along on my excursion to the local computer store, knowing they
always have lines so long, they actually give out "bakery tickets" to
keep track of the entourage.

About forty minutes passed before my number was called -- but
thankfully for me (and Steve -- the very exhausted computer attendant
who had called my number) my waiting time had passed in good spirits
-- because Maxine had made many friends -- all of whom she'd
generously introduced me to.

I arrived at a very fatigued Steve's desk in a playful mood -- rather
than the typical foul customer mood more expectant of someone who's
computer had crashed -- and they had to wait nearly an hour -- only
to be told an exorbitant price to amend their laptop situation.

I tried to bargain with Steve.

But Steve kept telling me "no" - then "NO" - in sort of the same
stern voice I use to tell Maxine "NO" when she wants to partake of
the dinner my boyfriend and I are sharing.

But...because I was in a playful mood, rather than give up, I adlibbed
a joke.

I held up Maxine, so her sweet puppy dog eyes stared Steve directly
in his dog-tired face, and said: "Maybe you can say no to a discount
for me - but can you look Maxine directly in her eyes and tell her
we're not getting a discount?"

Steve laughed.

Heartily.

The next thing I knew, Maxine had snagged me a bonus 15% off discount.

And Steve's mood had risen far more than 15%. He actually began
smiling -- bigtime.

The lesson here?

No, it's not to bring a dog with you the next time you buy a car or
negotiate your salary.

It's to bring a sense of humor wherever you go!

Much of my success in business is due to using humor - and so below
are some helpful tips which you can use verbatim -- or re-write to
fit your personality - all of which will remind you of the powerful
perks of staying in a perky mood.

The truth of the matter: There's far too much stress and sadness in
the world.

According to Marci Shmimoff, author the N.Y.Times best seller, Happy for No Reason: "The World Health Organization predicts that by 20/20,
depression will be second only to heart disease in terms of global
burden of illness."

Meaning?

Even if using some of the humorous ideas below don't snag you that
discount/job/raise - at least you're out there having fun - and
trying to make this world a happier place.

5 LAUGH YOUR WAY THE BANK BUSINESS TIPS:

1. SALARY NEGOTIATION

I once used this humorous quip, during a tough
salary negotiation. The client said, "Karen, this is a negotiation.
There's supposed to be some give and take." I teased: "Fine. You
give. And I'll take." Guess what? That's exactly what happened.

2. TRYING TO GET IN THE DOOR

Recently I had this humor quip used on
me - and it worked. A PR person kept pitching me their client for my
Sirius show. On about her seventh email, she switched gears, and
began her email with this line: "I feel like one of those dolls that
keeps bouncing back up again and again ... but..." I laughed at her joke
- re-read her pitch more attentively - and booked her guest. Later I
used her exact email intro quip on someone I's be unsuccessful at
getting in to see. Guess what? I got the meeting.

3. INTERVIEW

When I was in advertising, I used this joke once at the
end of an interview - and it clinched my job offer. At the end of the
interview, the exec asked me, "Okay. Do you have any questions for
me?" I adlibbed: "Um...yes. Can you name all seven of the seven
dwarves?" The exec laughed, then tried to list them. As he did I
quipped, "You know I have a theory that whichever dwarf you name
first says something about you." (He'd said "HAPPY" first. Maybe my
surreal answer had put him in this state...?) Then the exec tried to
list all seven of those seven dwarves, but couldn't. So I quipped, "I
also have a theory -- it's revealing which dwarf's name you can't
remember." (As it turned out, neither he nor I could remember all
seven dwarves. And so my job offer came with a strange code word. My
headhunter called to tell me: "The exec said you got the job and to
tell you 'Sneezy.'" My guess: This humorous quip worked for a few
reasons. (1) It was a creative director job I was interviewing for --
so I was actually giving him proof of my creativity. (2) All resumes
being equal, people are so yearning for fun at work, they'd rather
hire the fun/playful person. (3) Their ad agency was more of an
"edgy" agency. This humorous quip might not have boded so well if I'd
be interviewing at a bank. (4) It's boring interviewing people. I
snapped the exec out of his interview trance -- and so I not only
stood out in the crowd -- I changed his energy state -- and so he
associated more positive emotions with me. Note: This adlib was
completely by accident. I too was bored with interviewing -- and was
yearning to pep things up. I did not go in purposefully with this
answer -- but hey, if it worked with me, feel free to try it for
yourself -- if the "job offer" fits this jokey response.)

4. AVOIDING A DIFFICULT QUESTION

Often people ask me inappropriate
questions - like: "Do you mind if I ask you how much money you got
for an advance on that book deal?" My answer: "I don't mind you
asking. I just mind me answering." I find it closes down this
uncomfortable conversation in a warm manner.

5. WARNING: EVEN A COMEDIAN KNOWS TO TEST HIS AUDIENCE AND DO A FEW
WARM UP JOKES

With this in mind, I always begin EVERY phonecall I
make with: "Is now a good time to talk?" If someone is in a frantic
mood, it's important to know before you begin talking. After all, it
won't matter how fabulous your product is or how adorable you might
be, if someone's mindset is on OFF. Plus, I also know to test out my
humor slowly and raise the "edginess" of it slowly. Know thy audience
-- before you quip to outrageously!

Do you have a story where humor bred success? If so, please share it
below. And if you're having trouble getting yourself into a humorous
mood, please check out Karen Salmansohn's free happiness tips and
famed Be Happy Dammit newsletter at www.notsalmon.com.

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