Top 10 TED Talks About Humor

Humor at work is less about making wisecracks and causing people to fall on the floor with laughter, and more about creating a positive working environment and bringing joy to your colleagues, employees, and even bosses. Here are some of our personal favorite TEDTalks about using humor effectively:

1. In this original, never seen before demo, Heather Knight presents Data, a robot comic that does significantly more than jokes and bits - - it amasses crowd criticism (using programming co-made with Scott Satkin and Varun Ramakrishna at CMU) and shifts its act as the crowd responds. Is this thing on?

2. New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly shares a selection of her wise and funny cartoons about modern life -- and talks about how humor can empower women to change the rules.

3. In this first of it’s kind TEDx talk, Andrew Tarvin talks about how he brought humor to the workplace while he worked at Procter & Gamble. After being complimented by co-workers on how humor helped them enjoy their work, Andrew decided to start becoming a humor engineer--using humor to help people become more efficient and effective in the workplace. For a final project presentation while working at Procter & Gamble, Andrew Tarvin made presentation slides using Microsoft Paint to bring humor to his PowerPoint presentations. Since then, he has used the skills he learned as an engineer (and his funny personality) to show people how to use humor in the workplace.

4. Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of cracking up.

5. Leaders who can effectively leverage humor are more approachable and can make work environments less stressful - everyone loves a less stressful work environment, which means everyone will love you more and will help build you into a stronger leader.

6. Andrew is back discussing how humor is something that transcends most barriers. It is a common unification; a concept understood by all. Despite this, there exists a large portion of the population that does not think they can utilize humor. Andrew Tarvin will show you that everyone can use humor.

7. In this joke-laden talk, Kasha Patel uses the standup comedy format to make a case for combining science communication with humor in order to make the former more accessible and the latter more educational.

8. In the beginning, there was humor and there was laughter. And it was good. But then, work became suffocatingly serious. Until now. Today, we stand at the precipice of a new era. Future-shaping business leaders are re-discovering the power of humor as a vital driver of organizational success. This TEDxBreda Talk of Jamie Anderson presents the findings of his research on the core benefits of humor in the workplace, as well as an intuitive framework for its application in leadership.

9. A sense of humor is one of the most important -- and overlooked -- tools in business, says Tom Fishburne. In this fun, light-hearted talk, the author and cartoonist shares how laughing at ourselves can build a more creative, productive and open work environment.

10. There's a mistaken belief in today's working world that leaders need to be serious all the time to be taken seriously. The research tells a different story. Based on the course they teach at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker and corporate strategist Naomi Bagdonas delve into the surprising power of humor: why it's a secret weapon to build bonds, power, creativity and resilience -- and how we can all have more of it.

What do you think? Which of these TED talks have made the biggest impression? Let me know in the comments section below.


what is your humor persona?

Humor is a skill that can be learned. And when used correctly, it is a superpower that can be your greatest asset for building a happier, healthier and more productive life.  See for yourself...

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