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The Funny Side of Humor

In the movie Goodfellows, Joe Pesci’s character Tommy DeVito says, “I’m funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you? I make you laugh?”.  If you saw the movie, you might remember this as a tense scene, until DeVito laughs, noting he is joking.  Only then, the rest of the room laughs (he was a gangster after all!), releasing the tension.  It’s a great movie; if you haven’t seen it, you should! It’s also a great example of how important humor is in life. I am a huge proponent of it. 😊

Unfortunately, some view humor and business as distinct, rarely overlapping domains. The corporate world, with its focus on productivity and efficiency, sometimes feels too stern for the lighthearted touch of laughter. Consider how many times you are waiting with colleagues for a meeting to start and there is little casual conversation or laughter. Why is that?  As illuminated by the principles set forth by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas in “Humor, Seriously, Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life”, humor is a key ingredient to professional relationships. It’s a catalyst that amplifies creativity, fosters human connections, and promotes well-being. So yes, humor is important, and I take every opportunity to amuse myself and others!

Humor transforms and cultivates a space where ideas and creativity flourish and relationships are built.  When teams are unencumbered by formality, they will interact more freely with each other, making collaboration easier and solving difficult problems more fun. Ideas will be developed, built on and celebrated. The workplace, under the gentle touch of humor, changes from a place where transactions are conducted, to a hub of collaborative ingenuity. Every chuckle and smile breaks down barriers, fostering a sense of camaraderie and shared understanding.  Humor often effectively diffuses the stress and pressure of deadlines and performance metrics, giving people a refreshing respite.

So really, when you think about it, humor has an important place in organizations and those pre-meeting chats and jokes are important to success of teams and organizations. It weaves a narrative where each shared laugh is a thread that connects people; work is a journey of shared experiences and creating memories, not just one of meeting deadlines.

So next time you are waiting for a meeting to start or meeting with colleagues and you see an opportunity to inject some appropriate humor, you should! Your colleagues will thank you for it, the day may feel a little lighter, and you might even offer the catalyst that generates great ideas! At the very least, you will create a “remember when” connection with a colleague.

“Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter.” – John Cleese

So, here’s hoping I amuse you!!!

Have a great weekend.