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Research has revealed that when colleagues at work laugh together, it can increase their productivity and innovation at the workplace.
In Harvard Business School, researchers have found that people recognize those who have a tendency for humor as more competent and confident than those who don’t feel as comfortable telling jokes.
There were two experiments conducted:
a) First Experiment: The researchers asked around 150 participants to analyze the testimonials of a fictional company. The first testimonial was deliberately meant to be serious and the second to be funny.
The participants recognized the presenter of the entertaining testimonial as more confident, and they were more likely to select the humorous presenter as their leader for another activity.
b) Second Experiment: The researchers presented five job interview scenarios to different participants, who have to read scripts of conversations between job candidates and hiring managers.
In the first scenario, the candidate answered a hiring manager’s question with a serious response. In the Second Scenario, the candidate replied an appropriate and a successful joke (which made the hiring manager laughed).
In a third scenario, the candidate told an inappropriate and successful joke. In the fourth scenarios, the candidate replied with an appropriate and unfunny (failed) joke and in fifth one he replied with an inappropriate and failed joke.
For each scenario, the researchers tried to evaluate the confidence and competence of the job candidate in question.
Based on the study participants’ responses to these interview scenarios, the researchers found that a punch of humor with an inappropriate joke makes the candidate seem self-assured, it also makes that person seem less competent and of lower status than someone who tells an appropriate joke.
However, the researchers wrapped up saying that if a disastrous joke is well received, laughter can soften the teller’s reputation. On the contrary, trying out an appropriate joke will rarely harm your colleagues’ opinions about you. Even if the joke doesn’t land well, you will seem confident because you tried.
“Don’t be afraid of a flop joke,” writes author Alison Wood Brooks in the Harvard Business Review. “Bad jokes – as long as they are appropriate – won’t harm your social standing. They may even think about how confident you seem.”
To be successful at work or in business, you must have an understanding of human nature and know your audience, and that skill set applies to comedy as well. The joke you often tell to your friends may not work well with your colleagues or new client.
Remember an appropriate joke in an appropriate scenario is everything. 😀
Ajey Kumar Gupta
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