11 Ways a Sense of Humor Can Improve Your Business
by Allen Taylor
Laughter is the best medicine, as the saying goes, and it's also a key ingredient in running a successful business. Here are eleven ways having a sense of humor can help you be more successful at business.
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When successful comedian Robin Williams committed suicide recently, it shocked a lot of us. How could a man so successful and funny have ended his own life so tragically? It hardly makes sense.
Williams was the victim of a mental illness and that's no laughing matter. But he did make us laugh—at ourselves, at each other, and at the human condition.
In business—indeed, in all matters of life—a sense of humor is an essential characteristic. If you can laugh at yourself, you are more likely to be successful and more likely to enjoy the success you have. Plus, you'll get others to like you, and that's an added bonus.
Here are six specific ways a sense of humor can help you succeed in business.
- People who laugh at themselves make fewer mistakes. When they do make a mistake, they'll recover much more quickly. Research on humor in the past 20 years has led many psychologists to believe that the ability to laugh at oneself makes one more resilient. This resiliency then leads to greater success in business.
- Another characteristic of people who are capable of laughing at themselves is they go lighter on others. If you own a business and an employee makes a mistake, you'll be much more forgiving and focus on the positives that employee brings to your business rather than the negatives. This will cause your employees to be less anxious around you and relaxed. As a result, they'll make fewer mistakes and your business will thrive.
- Customers notice too. When they see how lighthearted you, they'll want to be around you more. You can make your customers happy when they walk in the door just by fostering a lighter atmosphere. That's what a sense of humor can do. By the way, happier customers spend more money, so get that sense of humor out there.
- Besides being more relaxed and less prone to mistakes, your employees will work harder to please you. Nobody wants to work for a sourpuss. Everybody likes working for someone who can laugh. Laughter increases your employees' morale.
- Another benefit to honing your sense of humor is that it makes the day go faster. Your life will be more enjoyable. Not only will that motivate you to work harder at your business, but you'll foster a healthier environment for those around you, which leads to greater levels of trust. If people trust you, then they'll have a greater desire to work with you and do business with you. That's true of employees, customers, and vendors/suppliers. Your business will be healthier all around.
- Humor also boosts creativity. If you can laugh at yourself, then you can inspire others to be more creative and productive. People who focus on the stressful aspects of work get less done, but humor has a way of opening people up to new possibilities and frees their minds to spark new ideas. You never know where the next great business idea will come from when you laugh at yourself.
Humans are not perfect. We have flaws. There's no sense pretending it isn't true. We all know it. Therefore, instead of pretending to have it all together, allow yourself the ability to fail. You can use that failure as a means of humoring yourself and others, inspiring all your colleagues to be less anxious and more productive.
RELATED: Having a Sense of Humor in the Workplace
Five other benefits to employing humor at work include:
- Opening up lines of communication. If you can get someone to laugh, you can get them to listen.
- Humor diffuses conflict. If you see a situation leading to gridlock, toss out a one liner. It creates a lighter mood and people are more willing to reach a compromise. Good negotiators are often masters at humor.
- Laughter leads to better relationships. Meeting someone new? Start with a joke or a shared moment of laughter.
- People learn more, and learn faster, when they laugh. That's why good teachers often employ humor as a teaching aid.
- Getting people to laugh at work reduces absenteeism. They'll want to show up for work if you can make them laugh.
RELATED: Best Practices for Using Humor in the Workplace
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