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Jim Richardson's All Day Program
"Jump-Starting Creativity for: College and University Students"
Keynote, 20-90 minutes:
"Avoid College Burn Out:
How to Lighten Things Up"
Half-Day Program, 1-6 hours:
"Delivery: How to Sell Your Points,
both on and off Campus"
Half-Day Program, 1-6 hours:
"Improvisation: Thinking on your Feet--
Create your own college-within-a-college"
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):
EXAMPLE: "How do I speak up in class without taking a bullet?"
About Jim
Audio Clips from Jim's Talks
Video Clips from Jim's Talks
What programmers say
Program Request Form

About Jim: instructor becomes student again for one year--

"If I only knew back then the things I know now,
What a time I would have had!"

Jim Richardson was a college instructor 1974-1983 and has since lead HUMOR seminars at Stanford University, College of Marin, Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma State University, Hayward State University, Lone Mountain College and College of San Mateo.

Since June 1997, Jim has returned to college part-time to acquire the minimal skills necessary to supervise this web site. Having newly seen things from the student view point, Jim will attempt an experiment:

Jim invites you to compare/contrast these two (2) documents which are, by nature of their subject, both opposite and at the same time vaguely similar. In any event, Jim found that Computer Science students and some of their professors/instructors/screeching-kindergarten-school-teachers-from-hell(or whatever) . . .. Taken as a whole, these folks were both smarter and funnier than any college students or profs Jim remembered.
I'll get to the teachers. But first, a couple of reasons re.: the students:
  1. two-thirds were over 40-something folks who had worked for a living
  2. they were in class to learn specific skills to enhance their businesses.
Going back to college was also like landing in a war zone. A running battle raged throughout every class session between: In short, information was regarded as personal property and students were being treated like they were on welfare.


Why this piecemeal approach to doling out cold facts?
Jim's considered conclusion is as absurd as the battles he witnessed: if students have to stay in school to get the next piece of information, they thus involuntarily sustain vital class enrollment populations. Funding is secured, which ensures that mediocre minds will gain tenure so they can't be fired no matter their lack of even minimal qualifications.
If even this hippest-of-college-departments survive by riding the undulating waves of information power plays, . . ..
Jim shutters to imagine the distress students undergo in the other truly square departments which pollute college campuses everywhere.

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Keynote (20-90 minutes):
"Avoid College Burn Out:
How to Lighten Things Up"

Opportunism and social engineering aside, there are only two experiences you can encounter on campus that have any relevance to the work place:
  1. the school play
  2. the class project
Why? Because both involve working with other people to meet absolute deadlines:
  • Jim will show you how to relax both your anxiety-driven professor and frantically competitive classmates so both will do your bidding.
  • Learning, like any life activity, can be a passive or dynamic experience: what you do affects everyone in the classroom. It means the difference between leaving the class: Students leave Jim's keynote speech empowered, ready to tear the campus apart. Fully in contact with their primal energy, they will never settle for second best again. Funny thing happens: professors often catch the student's enthusiasm, and begin to teach like their life was in the balance.

    One or two professors in your department may already be at this level. Support them with hard listening. Encourage them to be even better.

    Everyone takes this a renewed dialogue to the edge!

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    Half-Day Program (1-6 hours each):

    "Delivery: How to Sell Your Points Winningly, both on and off Campus"

    In the classroom, it's all about proving you are the smartest person; in real life, it's about something entirely different: getting people to cooperatively accomplish tasks on schedule. Jim will show you how to get control of the classroom situation as a metaphor for gaining the upper hand in your future work place.

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    Half-Day Program (1-6 hours):

    "Improvisation: thinking on your feet--
    Create your own college-within-a-college"

    We all know people who were straight-A students in high school but either flunk out or drop out of college before the end of their sophomore year.
    They just got burned out.
    Falling mindlessly into the current teaching structure can lead to the maddening pursuit of a grade via insane professor assignments known as "make work". Don't be fooled: some of this school work is actually an unpaid job, doing the professor's research. This is illegal except in graduate school when done for pay by contract. But such criminal behavior is now practiced on undergraduates. Often, students are admonished that doing such "extra credit work" is the only way you can get an "A". Only the childish student falls for such a dopey con.
    Instead, you need to look objectively at the proffered curriculum, and decide what you want from the class schedule.
    Luckily, Jim remembered a couple of tricks from his days at San Francisco State University that helped him extract an Ivy League-level education out of a public school attended by 24,000 students.
    By cutting the wheat-from-the-chaff every semester.
    Number one trick: always enroll in twice as many courses than you intend to take:

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    FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):

    Q: "This advice is nice for college students. Do you have any information for high school students?"
    A: Jim wrote this web page in Spring 1998, targeting college students.
    From September 1999-June 2000, Jim conducted an experiment —bringing local area high school parents instant access to their children's grades online and emailing parent's regarding their children's behavioral problems same-day (several student's academic lives were instantly saved!); then half a decade later, on April 14, 2003, Apple Computers announced a comprehensive K-12 application which incorporates these features:

    Q: "How do I speak up in class without taking a bullet?"
    A: Only you know if you've done your homework; but everyone in class knows who scores the most points during class discussion.
    Little known fact: if you score heavily and often in class, many times the professor will throw out lousy test scores, assuming you just "had a bad day".
    So, it pays to cover your assets by risking humiliation every  day in class.
    Besides, if you aren't doing something that makes you sweat under your armpits, you've stopped living.
    First up: every question any professor asks any time is a trap:
    You are the animal he wants to trap.
    How else can he prove that he is smarter than you?
    Now that you know his little game, why not WIN BIG?
    After all, if your sitting in his classroom, you can't be that busy.
    Neither is the professor, or he would be seeking honest employment elsewhere.
    So, begin by confronting yourself:
    Do you know the answer cold?
    Can you defend all aspects of the answer?
    Or would you just be guessing?
    If you don't know what the hell the prof is talking about, will it endear you to him to point that out?
    Conclusion: pick your field of battle, and aim for a quick assault that will guarantee victory.

    Q: "If I make jokes, will anyone take me seriously?"
    A: Those who are not funny will cower before you. Those who are funny and did not think of your witticism before you uttered it will be jealous. Both parties will respect you for having accomplished that which they dare not even attempt.

    Q: "I have a professor who is really funny. I'd like to make him laugh. But I don't want to open myself up to becoming the butt of his jokes for the rest of the semester."
    A: The average college professor who gets the reputation for being a "funny guy" gets about one laugh/hour. Stand-up comics get 4-5 laughs/minute.
    When I first began teaching comedy on campus, some interested psychology professors dropped by to try their hand. But when these shrinks saw that students were getting a laugh pattern that was 300 times more intense than anything they had ever experienced, they literally did an about face and ran down the hall. Never saw them again.
    Solution: don't go into a battle of wits unarmed. Have at least 20-30 jokes you can tell, and which you have already told successfully outside the classroom 20 times each. Then, target your professor for the kill.

    Q: "Gee, Jim: I don't know, all this sounds so violent."
    A: Your timid question reminds me: I once had this great gym teacher.
    One day, he set the high jump bar higher and higher.
    Finally, one student ran up to the bar and stopped.
    This greatest of deadpan teach's said: "Gentlemen, this is a vigorous activity."
    This student made the jump on his next attempt.
    As did we all.

    Q: "OK, OK, OK; enough already. Jim, please tell us honestly: say we have you speak at our campus, just what can we expect?"
    A: As you can see from this web document, I will probably:

    My words and images will burn.

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    What programmers say

    Logo for Foothill College, solid green tree against white background

    "Jim Richardson is a powerful speaker and humorist, a remarkable world-class lecturer. He combines essential information with keen enthusiasm and tasteful humor. Jim demonstrates how to use the sound bite in daily and academic work. How to get back in the ring and fight-the-good-fight. Short, positive arguments that WIN! I strongly and unequivocally recommend Mr. Richardson!"
    Dr. Gunter Seefeldt, Director, International Education Program, FOOTHILL COLLEGE, Los Altos Hills, California; every year, Dr. Seefeldt networks with many colleges and universities to send over 400 students abroad on work assignments

    Please click logo for link to Program Request Form

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    Audio Clips from Jim's Talks

    Jim will be updating this section constantly from his current speeches, beginning Saturday, 26-Sep-2020 12:48:12 PDT .
    If you would like to listen to Jim's newest audio clips right here on this web page, just as soon as they are available, then please get on Jim's e-mail list at:

    Jim's brochure, audio and video demo tape are available upon request.

    These two audio clips are from Jim's talk to the Menlo Park Rotary Club in Menlo Park, California. Jim adds some notes to supplement each audio clip to help the reader better follow Jim's argument:

    1. Jim how to use humor to:
      • Keep your job
      • Survive bad dates
      • Get children to automatically agree with your point-of-view

      "Bosses, Dates and New Moms"

      Are you starting to feel the pressures of college life, starting to get burned out?
      Stress is often caused when we are pulled in too many directions at once. Like trying to hold back a team of wild horses who are all going off in different directions.
      Jim's techniques help you regain control, get those horses pulling in the same direction.
      Thinking metaphorically, you can use all the techniques Jim talks about on this audio clip; today, begin to compel both
      • your fellow students
      • your professors
      to agree with you; do it right, and they will have no choice.
      Now, that's power!
      (Please use this information responsibly.)

      Thinking humorously to convince everyone you are right!
      (audio 422 K ".wave" file, playing time: 1 minutes, 46 seconds)

    2. Audio clip begins in mid-discussion, Jim proving to the audience that the number one complaint about doctors: "Doctors don't listen!"

      "How Better Listening Cures Patients Faster"

      The first step in getting folks to come around to your way of thinking is getting them to trust you as much as they trust their family doctor.
      (Assuming your family doctor is trustworthy.)
      How patients see the doctor during their examination
      is the same way students and professors initially see you

      (audio 488 K ".wave" file, playing time: 1 minutes, 52 seconds)

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