Colin Shaw is the CEO of a Customer Experience Firm called Beyond Philosophy. In a recent article, he outlined a few situations where showing some humor or personality can actually have a positive effect on the overall process of “doing business” with others. Here are a few of his best tips on how/when to use humor in the workplace:
4 Tips for Using Humor Effectively:
- Identify the right points for humorous interaction: Humor may not go over well in the accounting department, or at least they need to be number related jokes for them to get it! In my view, front-line staff should be encouraged to joke with customers, but they have to have the skills to do this. They will set the tone for the experience moving forward.
- Know the limits of taste: This is critical to successful integration of humor into business. You need to know what would be a great wisecrack to one person, could be offensive to another, especially when dealing internationally. Always err on the side of caution.
- Encourage the natural exchange: Please resist stifling staff with scripts; we should encourage people’s personality to come forward.
- The only target is you: There is a big difference between laughing at someone than with someone. Don’t make fun of people in the audience but to make fun of yourself.
Humor is many times underutilized in business situations. It is an important element that can support your success in nearly every part of your working life. Most of all, humor can be the differentiator between “winning or losing” an account or piece of business.
Maybe you are a funny person. Don’t be afraid to utilize humor in the right way and right circumstances to nurture relationships. But if you aren’t funny, there are things you can do to seem like a funny person. Just don’t take yourself “too seriously” and be engaging with other people, especially those that you don’t know very well. Just being approachable is half of the battle.
That’s the bottomline…
“Change…Part Nature…Part Opportunity”