May 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts May 2001 Current Issue
May 2001
Short Cuts:Just for laughs


It has long been called the best medicine; now people are finding laughter can improve the health of meetings. A number of groups are hiring so-called laughter therapists, who lead sessions where attendees first warm up with breathing exercises, then giggle, chuckle and guffaw in unison.

Laughing relaxes muscles and eases tension, says Paul McGhee, president of Wilmington, Del.-based The Laughter Remedy ( It’s also a powerful communication tool, giving diverse groups a collective point of reference.

“Laughter is the most common thing people can tap into. It brings people together by making them feel closer,” says Santa Barbara, Calif.-based psychotherapist Dr. Annette Goodheart, a laughter specialist who has worked with DuPont and the Los Angeles Police Department, among others. Goodheart advises planners to hold a laughter session soon after the meeting begins, so attendees will be relaxed and receptive to the business that follows. Find laughter therapists through speakers bureaus such as the National Speakers Association (


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