Laughter is considered one of the best stress-busters out there.
It is a great way to lighten up the atmosphere and the mood.
Aren’t people with a good sense of humour, who have jokes for every occasion such saviours?
Cracking jokes and laughing out loud in an informal setting is one thing. Being amongst friends and family, peers and acquaintances gives a certain level of freedom in LOL-ing our way out of seriousness. Even the edgier kind of humour finds a certain acceptability.
Professional spaces have more stringent boundaries and codes of conduct, and this is applicable to all the funny business as well. But that doesn’t mean a complete embargo on cracking good jokes and displaying a healthy sense of humour.
So first, let us see some good things that can come out of using humour in a professional setting.
Adding humour in presentations, meetings can engage everyone in a better way, and in turn, increasing the retention of what has been talked about. Remembering why and where we laughed a bit during a presentation helps us to look back and actually remembering the whole presentation. Humour can be thus used to make impactful presentations, and more engaging meetings.
Breaking the News:
Putting an otherwise worrying message across with help of humour is a good idea to lighten up gloom. The humour can also help one realise that whatever happens, they will be able to cope, and that things will fall into place.
Sandwiching difficult to convey news between doses of humour is a good idea if you don’t want to send people into panic modes. Note that we are talking about difficult news, not sad news.
Cracking a simple, innocent but a joke apt to the situation can furthermore help in building and nurturing relationships. A good sense of humour is a delightful way to put to ease a nervous new employee. Humour is a great tool for rapport building. It can also add light and positive vibes in the office space.
But since we are talking about professional contexts, there are some things one should especially keep in mind.
Do Not Try Too Hard:
The main task is to do the job, not trying to be funny. Your office isn’t a platform for practicing stand-up comedy. If you feel you aren’t naturally funny, it’s best to think twice before saying anything which you think might trigger unwanted reactions. Laughter is used to make things easy, not awkward or worse. It is best if laughter comes through an unforced, organic process.
The Right Kind:
The kind of humour and jokes, and where and how you are using them is very important. There are jokes which are simply inappropriate to the situation or are just blatantly offensive. Avoid cracking jokes directed at communities or sections of people. And there are people who can take a joke, and those who can’t. Make sure to keep such distinctions in mind.
Context is extremely important. And so is having a sense how a joke has gone with everyone. Always assess the situation before making any seemingly humorous remark. You don’t want anyone to feel too uncomfortable. Cracking a joke in front of someone who has just been fired ,for example, may not go well, even if your intention was to “cheer” them up. Sometimes, the context demands you let the storm pass. Don’t joke around just for the sake of it.
Humour in the office is thus a tight-rope balancing act of art. Ideally, it should not feel forced and artificial. But once the art has been mastered, it goes a long way in easing stress levels, tension and boredom. Humour, in a professional setting is all about understanding the rights and wrongs.