Why Humor Is A Skillposted by Anna Mar, May 26, 2013
What is it?Humor as a professional skill is the ability to use humor to achieve desired business outcomes.
You probably use humor in relaxed situations such as with friends and family. Extending this personal skill to professional situations takes bravery.
Humor is fraught with drawbacks & pitfalls. Many professionals play it safe and play down their funny side.
If you decide to use humor at work, it can pay dividends.
Potential Drawbacks & PitfallsHumor has a dangerous edge. There are several things that can go wrong in professional situations:
- Humor that bombs
Even professional comedians experience a failed joke or two on a regular basis. This isn't a major concern.
- Self deprecating humor
Self deprecating humor can be funny. It can also help to show that you're not arrogant — that you can laugh at yourself. The problem with self deprecating humor is that some people may take you seriously. This can be a cultural thing. For example, self deprecating humor is far more common in the United Kingdom than in the United States.
- Inappropriate jokes
Most professionals intend to keep jokes appropriate. However, this is always an area of interpretation.
- Bad timing
Humor can be interpreted as unprofessional if your timing is off. For example, if you appear to be making light of a critical situation.
Benefits of HumorHumans aren't business processing robots.
Business is a human activity that reflects the human mind. Most of us are greatly influenced by humor. It has the power to transform our emotions and change our thinking.
There are numerous business applications of a little humor:
- Building Rapport
People like funny people.
- Conflict Resolution
Disarm stressful situations.
Humor is an important tool of persuasion.
- Stress Management
The ability to make light of stressful situations can reduce stress.
- Public Speaking
Humor is considered a key element of effective public speaking.
Any situations that are likely to be intense can benefit from a little humor.
Most salespeople use humor as a tool.
Humor can be used to show that you're friendly and personable. It can also help you to establish social proof.
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