Cool people always get over a good practical joke. Uptight people usually can’t.
That’s why I like to pull practical jokes on people in my business (and personal) life. I don’t do it often, and when I do, I really think out the gag. Here’s how I do it:
*It’s always a one on one experience.
*I try and be really thoughtful in detail, etc.
*I customize my gags.
*I never use one twice in the same extended social network.
Example: IRS Agent routine – You call someone at home, using a 800 calling card to mask your caller ID, and pretend to be an IRS agent with some serious questions about a 1099 from four years ago. Use a phony accent (I did Slim Pickens) and be forceful. Then, after they grovel for a few minutes, let them off the hook with a laugh. Works like a charm.
Recently, I received an email from a business owner I’d met at a talk, and I responded to him with “I have no idea who you are. Stop spamming me.” We’d hung out on two occasions for hours and bonded, I’m sure he was shocked to get that reply. I waited a short while, then sent him a follow up email with the subject line: Gotcha. He let me know that I’d got him good, and the score was crazy guy 1, sucker 0. And he let me know that, “it wasn’t over.”
Why am I such a goof? I’m playful, nothing’s sacred and I trust people’s sense of humor. It helps you jump out of the pile, fearless in a land of fearful and always on the lookout for a great laugh. It’s very tricky, I’ll admit. If you don’t read people well for cool-ness, you may have a very unpleasant experience.
I wouldn’t want to advise that you pull a prank on your boss or best customer, but it has always worked for me. Loosen up a little.