While the worlds of comedy and business may not initially appear to have much in common, a growing number of firms are in fact turning to comedians to help them boost staff communication, performance, and creativity. And to enable senior bosses to improve their public speaking and presentation skills.
For businesses who want their workers to be as happy and productive as possible, it is no laughing matter. Except when it is.
Companies that are now using comedians include internet giant Google; social media firm Twitter; soft drinks business Red Bull; and German engineering group Siemens. And if those four firms ever walked into a bar together, Red Bull would be the best mixer...
At Quebec's National Comedy School in Montreal, Canada, its team of comedians has been offering training courses to businesses since 2009. It currently has 30 clients on its books, including insurance group Sun Life and Siemens' Canadian division.
Rather that teaching people to tell jokes, the visiting workers are typically asked to put on red noses and behave like clowns.
They are asked to practise pratfalls, pretend to bump into things, and even mock-slap their colleagues in the face.
"These kind of games are childish and make people lose their grounding," says Louise Richer, the founder of the comedy school.
"They allow creating safety zones, where people can say whatever they want without the fear of being judged, and where they can interact with their colleagues differently."
By Andreane Williams