Humourby Kate Hull Rodgers
- What is humour?
- Why is it useful in the workplace?
- How do I get to be funny?
- Should I start a presentation with a joke?
- What’s a good joke?
1. What is humour?
Every individual has a sense of humour; it’s what they find funny or enjoyable. This will have been influenced by family, community and personal taste. Moreover, every organisation has a sense of humour. This will have evolved from the collective humours of the individuals making up the organisation and from external sources, such as the media, the culture and the nature of the business.
2. Why is it useful in the workplace?
Humour is part of simply having fun, and the bottom line is that people who have fun get more done. Humour improves things such as creativity, motivation, teamwork, enthusiasm, well being and relationships, both internal and external, and with staff and customers. Though these improvements are all difficult to measure, we know that humour is an integral part of good workplace morale.
The other major benefit is that laughter and humour heal. They are vital components of a healthy lifestyle. We know this from what we observe around us, and healthy people will always outperform unhealthy people.
3. How do I get to be funny?
Humour is a habit. Like any habit you want, but don’t yet have, it requires practice. What makes the humour habit easier to acquire through practice is that we all used to have a wonderful natural sense of humour when we were children. To a child, funny stuff just is. They don’t need to look for it or force it. Watch children and learn to emulate that childlike approach to humour. Watch your favourite comedian and emulate them as well; in time, you will develop your own style.
4. Should I start a presentation with a joke?
You certainly can, but be very careful. If it is obvious to the audience that it is a joke, and if it falls flat, you lose. You would probably be better off with a relevant story, which could be funny or not, depending on the audience reaction.
5. What’s a good joke?
Did you hear the one about the guy who walked into a bar with a teddy bear?
A good joke is one that works as you intended. It is that simple. The trick is figuring out what will work, and then delivering it so it reaches its potential. You know your audience, so you will have to look at jokes until you find one that you think will go down well with them. There are numerous websites full of jokes about every subject imaginable; some are funny and some aren’t!