Frequently Asked Questions
- What do you mean by humor?
- Why should I use humor?
- What if my manager/direct reports/peers don’t approve?
- Are you sure I won’t get fired for it?
- How do I be funny?
- OK, how do I use humor?
- What can I do to get started?
- You remind me of Conan.
Well, there you go. A list of frequently asked questions. Thanks for stopping by!
Oh wait, did you want the answer to these questions? You’ll have to go to the Frequently Given Answers section… which happens to be right below this sentence.
Frequently Given Answers
What do you mean by humor?
Many people assume that in order for something to be deemed humorous, it must evoke laughter. And while stand-up comedians may use that as a measure of success, that’s not the case for humor at work. Anything that relaxes the body, gets people to breathe, causes a smile or elicits happiness is humor.
Using humor doesn’t have to mean telling jokes, it can be as easy as playing music before a presentation or simply smiling at co-workers. The important thing to remember is that humor, in it’s many forms, is beneficial to the work and life.
Why should I use humor?
Humor has been shown to reduce blood pressure, burn calories, improve moods, increase engagement, enhance leadership, and is just plain old fun. For more on the specific benefits or for studies that support my claims, check out the Humor Benefits section.
What if my manager/direct reports/peers don’t approve?
First, are you sure they don’t approve of you being more effective and efficient? Some people assume that humor won’t be welcomed because so few people seem to have one in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean it’s frowned upon. If it helps, one study showed that 98% of CEOs prefer job candidates with a sense of humor.
Second, it’s possible your coworkers just aren’t aware of the numerous advantages humor has to offer. Just point them to this site and let them know what’s up.
Third, if you happen to work for one of the few people who refuse to accept that using humor at work is what leaders do, it doesn’t mean you have to discount it for yourself. You can still use humor for your own work while slowly working on your manager to warm up to the idea (you could also put me in touch with him/her and I’ll give them a talking-to).
Are you sure I won’t get fired for it?
To my knowledge, no one has ever been fired for using humor. I’m sure someone’s lost their job by being inappropriate when trying to be funny, but that’s not the fault of humor. Put it this way: no one’s ever been fired for writing a memo–now if the content of the memo is inappropriate, then maybe a job was lost, but don’t blame the vehicle.
After all, why would you be let go for improving moods, increasing engagement ,and enhancing leadership?
How do I be funny?
Well as you know from above, using humor doesn’t mean you have to be funny, just humorous. But if you do want to be funny, consider taking an improv class, read some books on comedy, or check out our humor course.
OK, how do I use humor?
There are countless ways (well, maybe you could count them, but who has the time?) to use humor in the workplace. The best humor is always personalized to the situation and audience, but there are some things that usually work well–you can find those in the How-To Humor section.
Or, for a list of 501 ways to use humor in the workplace, pick up our Amazon.com Best-Seller, Humor That Works: 501 Ways to Use Humor to Beat Stress, Increase Productivity, and Have Fun at Work.
What can I do to get started?
By reading this FAQ and FGA, you’re already starting, but if you want some more actionable steps, here’s a list to get you going. Of course you can also contact me for more personalized recommendations:
- Learn the basics of using humor at work with the Starting with Humor Series.
- Follow step-by-step guides to humor events from How-To Humor.
- Check out the Humor Spotlight for examples and case studies of humor at work.
- Stay-up-to-date with all of the happenings by signing up for our humor newsletter.
You kind of look like Conan.
That’s not a question, but thank you (I think). Although I’ve heard that a more accurate description is that I look like the skinny love-child of Conan O’Brien and Hugh Jackman. I don’t know about that, but it’s what “they” say.