You may be needing a good laugh right about now. I know I often do! Did you hear about the shopkeeper?
A shopkeeper was astonished when a brand new business, much like his own, opened up next door and posted a huge sign: BEST QUALITY.
About a month later, another competitor opened up on his right, erecting an even larger sign: LOWEST PRICES.
The shopkeeper panicked, until he had an idea. He then put up the biggest sign of all over his shop which said: MAIN ENTRANCE.
As an entrepreneur in a highly competitive industry, you may be searching for ways to give your business the winning edge. But what if we told you that one of the simplest ways to help close the deal is found nowhere else but within you?
It’s humor of course!
In business, according to Jack Shitama, author, teacher, speaker and coach, humor promotes learning, builds trust, improves negotiations and can support innovation.
Loretta G. Breuning, PhD says in her book, Meet Your Happy Chemicals, that neurotransmitters, such as those released during laughter, are the essential ingredients for a well-balanced happiness diet.
Without diving too deep into the scientific aspects and effects of humor in the brain, here are several takeaways from Shitama and Breuning’s contributions of how humor can make for better leaders and teammates, and naturally, better days.
Humor promotes learning.
When there is an important point you want to communicate, using a funny analogy or a story often sticks better with others. It helps create a mental picture and makes the meeting memorable.
Humor builds trust.
When you laugh, oxytocin is released much like an ambassador that helps to build trust. Experts say it is like a hormone of bonding or attachment. It not only aids in building trust in you as a leader, but also among team members.
Humor improves negotiations.
Trust is not just an essential factor in negotiations, it is probably the most important one. A lighthearted jest or timely pun could go a long way; as people relax and might even forget their own objections.
Humor supports innovation.
When it comes to fostering problem solving and creativity, humor is key. An MIT study by Barry Kudrowitz, PhD, suggests that “improvisational comedians were more proficient at new product idea generation than professional product designers.” Imagine that!
The body’s messengers.
Neurotransmitters are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. When we smile or laugh, our brain releases them to help combat high levels of stress and even depression.
- Serotonin is released when you feel significant. In other words, that you’re making a difference.
- Dopamine helps you to take action. It produces a surge of reinforcing pleasure when you achieve goals, and aids with memory and information processing.
- Oxytocin creates trust and intimacy; also stimulating self-disclosure.
- Endorphins cause the brief euphoria that can mask pain and lower heart rate.
With what we know about humor, there are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Never throw caution to the wind. While a clever remark can break the ice and foster enjoyable interactions, inappropriate or deprecating jokes should never be shared.
- Be authentic. If you try to be funny, chances are you won’t be. Most people can tell when your behavior and actions are forced or false.
Do you remember the classic adage, Laughter is the best medicine? What about the Old Testament proverb: “a cheerful heart is good like medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”? In any case, did you know that people can “hear” when you smile over the phone? While we may not all have a natural great sense of humor or be super storytellers, we can all smile (even behind our face coverings) not only for emotional well-being, but to forge significant connections with others.
And, since it has long been said that variety is the spice of life, it would do us all well to add pinches of smiles and dashes of good cheer for a change. What’s more, to settle the half-full or half-empty glass once and for all, I challenge myself and you as well, to go beyond these perspectives and endeavor for our glass to be full and overflowing so that there is enough for ourselves, as well as for others who may need what only by grace we have received!
So, should your journey ever become flaming hot or freezing cold, strictly narrow or vastly wide, rock hard or sinking sand, just remember that it does not ever need to be baked or bitter—not even bland!
The next time you’re up to lead a meeting, video conference, sales event or gathering… lighten up! Using humor in your anecdotes may just be the antidote that some unknowingly need to clear their heads and lift their hearts.
Get started today and check out the possibilities of what Team National can do for you. To learn about the Team National opportunity, please visit