Using humour in serious discussions is a way to make interactions more memorable.
Have you ever wondered if humour in serious business meetings is appropriate, and when?
Imagine this scenario. You’re sitting among some of your company’s partners. Just when it seems that conflicts have divided the room completely - someone cracks a joke to lighten the mood.
This can result in one of two things.
1- Almost magically the conversation is rejuvenated, or
2- Almost tragically the joke-cracker is considered frivolous
Certainly, you’ve encountered times when jokes have flopped in meetings. So, when and how should you use humour in business (if at all)?
Eliciting laughter through wit and intelligence is viewed as a sign of confidence and has even been found to increase a person’s status. One important thing to remember is that ‘moments of laughter’ become memories.
Very few other conversational strategies have the ability to transform moods (in both positive and negative directions) as quickly and with such impact.
BUT, Humor can seem like a frivolous distraction. People do get it wrong. Humour can build trust, and at the same time a bad attempt at humour can break relationships (when sarcasm goes wrong).
Life itself is fraught with tense moments, critical situations, negative emotions and what not, right?
Whether the humour is well times and breaks the tension or the same humour is ill-timed and breaks the reputation itself — comes down to a simple insight, which is
Humour is a mindset
It’s not a joke to tell — it’s to perceive the humour in the situation before blurting it out. And that is a mindset. An orientation to life.
Take the example of Philip Brickman? He's the guy researched lottery winners ... and found that in the end, they were no happier than anyone else. Brickman called it the Hedonic Treadmill.
On May 13, 1982, at the age of 38, Philip Brickman made his way onto the roof of Tower Plaza, the tallest building in Ann Arbor, and jumped. It was a 26-story fall.
Yes, the man who’d done one of psychology’s foundational studies about happiness
Got it all WRONG. He couldn’t perceive humour.
Are you able to see humour in the most serious of paradoxes that face you? Are you able to laugh at yourself in the most disastrous of choices you made? Not because the disaster is funny but because you could be that stupid to have landed here!
This simple reflection will reveal to you whether ‘humour is in your mindset’ or your mindset itself is a joke… See, there is a funny side to everything….!
People may laugh at the jokes you crack. That is not humour.
People may laugh at your sarcasm. And that too is not humour.
People may laugh at the funny faces you make, or the way you can mimic. And that too is not humour.
In the midst of a storm,
…when you can change moods, without taking away the seriousness of the storm.
…when in that moment you make a person smile.
…when in that moment laughter roars, not because you cracked a joke, but because you saw the humour, and didn’t have to make it.
That is humour.
And that takes a mindset. Takes calmness. Takes wisdom. Only a serious mind is capable of truly being funny. The other, well cracks stupid jokes!
I will end with one word of warning: Know thyself. And then….. laugh out loud for the imperfection that you are… And if you are unable to see the funny side of the imperfection…. isn’t that funny too…