I’m struck by how laughter connects you with people. It’s impossible to sustain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter.” 

John Cleese

Humour in business is key to success

Anyone who has spoken in public knows the importance of the ice breaker—the gap between silence and the message—the bridge to trust and buy-in when THE connection is formed. Many times this is done with a sense of humour. Why? Because like Ed Catmull has said, the best way to connect the meaning of your message with people is through humour. 

Laughter relieves stress and boredom, boosts engagement and well-being, and spurs not only creativity and collaboration but also analytic precision and productivity.

This isn’t about slap-stick, or sarcasm, making fun of, or at the expense of others, but finding the levity that can be shared and appreciated.

To “get” a joke or follow a humorous situation, you need to be able to see the lighter side of things. You must believe that other possibilities besides the literal exist – think about being amused by comic strips with talking animals, like those found in The Far Side.

So many times, the older we get, especially in business, the less “fun” or laughter we allow ourselves. But it has been proven time and again that leaders who build in a sense of levity will draw people to them and keep them motivated and engaged. This is backed by science because when we laugh, our brains release a number of hormones that serve to make us feel happy, trusting, and generally better able to cope. 

Not too serious though

Prior to reading Michael Kerr’s books, I had no idea people study this sort of thing and couldn’t imagine the “seriousness” of these findings. Yet the more I read and put into practice the general principles, the return on investment is astounding, out-performing other business investments of the past. So I would encourage anyone and everyone, to take a humour quest challenge and experience the significant difference in culture, team building, performance, and ultimately revenue.  

Some additional reading of interest regarding humour in business:

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