We all like to laugh, smile and enjoy a great joke with our peers, friends, family members and sometimes colleagues.  However, often times we are only able to enjoy this simple life pleasure after we leave the office or work site. Imagine that you are in the middle of a workshop, team-meeting, corporate retreat or sales situation.  In one scenario, the company or representative you are working with is very good at his job but has no sense of humour.

The second scenario company or representative is equally as knowledgeable, but puts a smile on the faces of everyone in the room.  Deciding which space or environment you would rather be a part of becomes a very quick and easy decision.  According to a William M. Mercer survey in the U.S. only 29% of employers nationwide encourage humour as a party of their company culture. However, those organizations that use humour to their advantage are better able to create a fun culture to help brand their business, attract and retain employees and to attract customers.

Using humour in business (in the workplace, with team-members and with customers) can go a long way towards creating a memorable experience that people can relate to and can be a pivotal stepping-stone in building trust, boosting employee morale and increasing productivity.  Using humour effectively shows that you care about and understand the culture of your organization.  It also promotes an environment where employees feel encouraged and able to share ideas with their peers and feel more empowered in their jobs.

Humour may be used just as effectively when working on customer relationships.  Having a problem with an immediate complaint from a customer?  It will be important to own up to the mistake and show that your organization is committed to fixing it and solving the problem.   After you have solved the problem it will be equally as important to break down the barrier by providing something to the customer that demonstrates that you hear their concern. Infusing a little self-deprecating humour into this process may make the customer more sympathetic towards the situation and more likely to give your company repeat business.

Looking for a few tips on where to start injecting humour into your workplace?

  • Start by understanding your environment and what people in your industry may find funny or appealing.  Getting to know your team and what makes them smile is important.
  • Help others connect to humour – Encourage others to use humour by smiling, laughing and recognizing their use of comedy.
  • Find your own style – Use what you know has worked well in the past and build on it. In a sales or meeting situation, humour will work best when it’s honest.
  • You don’t always need to be creative – Share some of the fun material created by others.
  • And finally..make it routine! – Enable your entire team to enjoy work a little bit more by consistently adding humour into every workday!

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