Humour is good for your health. It’s also good for your professional image.
Let us explain.
Many companies and professionals believe a strong business reputation requires keeping a cold, stiff, diplomatic veneer at all times. And in some contexts, they’re probably right.
For every genius Super Bowl ad that makes you spray your drink on your guests, there are probably three that make you actually wish your dad had pursued a career in standup after all. Dad jokes > sloppy marketing, every time, hands down.
But well-employed humour can single you out as a cut above the rest. It can disrupt a stuffy atmosphere with new energy. And it signals both intelligence and prestige to your audience.
That last part may surprise you, but in their popular bestseller Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life, authors Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas cite studies showing people link even simple puns to status and leadership.
Often, the right to humour has to be earned. The risks we take with any joke or even simply a witty tone express confidence and vulnerability to an audience. Unwelcome vulnerability creates discomfort, and confidence without competence will get you sent to spam. But play your cards right and you’ll be the talk of the town.
Even better, they’ll remember you. Humour boosts learning (read: memory, short and long term), attention and motivation. All thanks to a nice little chemical package of dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins that laughter delivers to our bodies quicker than Amazon Prime.
As a company, you have options. Not every brand identity is suited to Wendy’s-level Twitter roasts, and that’s okay.
But that doesn’t mean your employees can’t have a laugh on social media. You may even want to encourage a little levity here and there. Online back and forth between your employees and executives can tell your audience (and prospective employees) a lot about your company dynamics behind the curtain.
After all, humour begins at home. If your corporate culture has no room for humour, you’re probably the butt of someone else’s joke. As in, the punchline of a Dilbert comic.
At Jester, we love the mirth and playfulness our name implies. And we see ourselves just as much in the courage, insight and skill a jester needs to perform for kings and queens. To us, professionalism and humour are two bells on the same hat, and we’d like to think we wear them well.