Humour or laughter is an unconscious tendency to elicit laughs and give pleasure to the audience. Humor is often associated with feelings, such as happiness and sorrow, as well as with attitudes and social situations. The word comes from the medical terminology of the ancients, who believed that the key to human health, related to the balance of happy fluids in the body, called humours. In modern times, humour is used to evoke feelings, for example, to cure aches and pains, and also as a distraction from serious issues, such as anxiety or negative emotions.
There are many ways of using humour to improve your life and make it more fun and interesting. One of the most famous comedians, Seinfeld, said that one of his secrets was to observe his diet. He said that the food that made him laugh, could be used to deflect some of his harder moods. Jerry Seinfeld even included a list of funny things in his book called Seinfeld: A Comprehensive Guide (published by Random House, 2021).
The art of making others laugh can be a great technique in social skills and communication. Using humorous asides and exaggerated physical descriptions, you can create in your audience an ‘informed’ reaction, which can sometimes make the matter worse. This is a good strategy to avoid getting into a heated discussion, when you might lose control of your emotions. The use of exaggerated exaggeration also creates an aura of ‘real-life experience’ for the audience, similar to the illusion of reality created by surrealist theatre.
Humorous asides and funny one-liners, coupled with subtle gestures of rapport, can be very effective tools in building long-term relationships. In business, successful managers know that effective communication is one of the keys to success. Using humourous one-liners and using the right body language, you can show genuine understanding to your team members without coming across as condescending. Cleverly worded questions can create instant rapport, building trust and creating a positive relationship that will endure. Similarly, if you are addressing a large group of people, a humorous anecdote can help you break the ice. However, be careful not to use humour as a cop out, because you run the risk of being branded as a fake.
Using humor as a social skill is also a great strategy for dealing with difficult clients, especially in negotiations. One of the biggest challenges of negotiating with difficult clients is diffusing any feelings of animosity. One way of doing this is through effective communication; you can provide information to your client in a way that brings out the humor in them. The power of effective communication lies in the ability to recognize the difference between what is funny and what is not. Effective humour can often overcome more difficult arguments. For example, if a client feels that you are taking him for his money, using humorous one-liners and jokes can defuse the situation and make a lasting impact.
So, if you find yourself trapped in an argument or facing a difficult situation, consider using humour to diffuse the situation. Humor can be a great ally when facing difficult situations. And if you’re a manager, you should take every opportunity to use humour to improve relations with your team. Try using humor to manage your relationships today!