Making Humor at Work Work
Most people like a good laugh, but what’s funny to some people others find inappropriate. William Goodspeed, author of Buzz Kill, has these tips to avoid having your jokes land with a thud.
- Don’t confuse being a leader with being a comedian. Leadership is Job One.
- An attempt at bad humor is not an acceptable excuse for unacceptable behavior. Racist, sexist, ageist, and other forms of discriminating acts won’t be tolerated because you attempted to cloak them in bad humor.
- Use humor to lift people up, not to put them down. Don’t laugh at people – laugh with them.
- Don’t force it – if you’re trying too hard to be funny your humor will fall on deaf ears.
- Use your humor to make people feel more comfortable rather than more awkward.
- Gags and practical jokes should only be used when those on the receiving end find them funny.
- Don’t use humor to single someone out, use it to help them acclimate.
- Sarcasm is not a license to belittle someone. Saying “I was just joking” doesn’t cut it.