Why so serious? While professionalism is key to business success, becoming a humorless drone is not. On the contrary, humor has a host of benefits, including improved health, increased productivity and better professional relationships. If you are ready to get ahead, here are three ways to use humor to advance your career:
Not sure where to start? Puns are a great and easy way to get the ball rolling. As the Dad joke standard, puns are easy but typically corny. However, this shared understanding of puns’ supreme cheesiness is what makes them perfect. The humor lies in the unfunniness of it, so even a bad pun is in good company. It also shows a willingness to embrace embarrassment, a trait that displays both confidence and humility.
Make yourself the punchline.
Make fun of yourself. A little self-deprecation goes a long way. Since humor is rooted in discomfort, (often at the expense of others) why not throw yourself under the bus? Aside from protecting others’ feelings, it instantly humanizes you. People like knowing that their struggles are not unique and easily relate to people who openly discuss personal flaws. So if you are wanting to stand out for that promotion, maybe a joke about your never-ending battle with the copier. Be certain not to over do it. Too many jokes are your expense could make others question your competency.
Critique with humor.
Comedy is often edgy, one of the reasons it is suppressed in professional settings. However, when addressing difficult topics, humor can soften the blow. This concept works whether you are a boss conducting performance reviews or an associate addressing a colleague regarding a project. Criticism is a dish better served with a joke. This also helps ease tension in combative situations and establishes common ground through humor. An ability to dispense unpleasant information and diffuse conflicts is a great asset in business.
It is important to remember that all humor is about individual perspective. The goal is not to be a stand-up comic, but to showcase your personality in a truthful way. Not only can you use humor to advance your career, but it can help you succeed outside the board room. By embracing our imperfections, we find power in our authenticity. If used effectively, the possibilities are virtually endless.
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