Have you ever left a meeting with a smile and thought…”I really like that person?” Chances are the person was witty or even downright funny. Or have you been in an extremely tense meeting and someone cracked a joke and all of a sudden the tension was broken? Humor can be a valuable tool when developing business. Forbes staff writer Jacquelyn Smith looks into the subject in her article… 10 Reasons Why Humor Is A Key To Success At Work. Here are four of the reasons that I think lawyers should take to heart.
People will enjoy working with you. ‘People want to work with people they like,’ Vanderkam (author of What the Most Successful People Do at Work, and What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast) says. ‘Why wouldn’t you? You spend huge chunks of your waking hours at work, so you don’t want it to be a death march. Humor–deftly employed–is a great way to win friends and influence people. You need to be funny, but not snarky (that’s not good for team building) and you can’t offend anyone.’
Humor is a potent stress buster. ‘In fact, it’s a triple whammy,’ Michael Kerr explains (an international business speaker, president of Humor at Work, and author of The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing all the Way to the Bank). ‘Humor offers a cognitive shift in how you view your stressors; an emotional response; and a physical response that relaxes you when you laugh.’
Ha + ha = aha! “Humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking,” Kerr says. ‘It helps people play with ideas, lower their internal critic, and see things in new ways.’ Humor and creativity are both about looking at your challenges in novel ways and about making new connections you’ve never thought about before, he adds.
It helps build trust. ‘You can build trust with the effective use of humor because humor often reveals the authentic person lurking under the professional mask,’ Kerr says.
So if you are hiding your sense of humor because you think lawyers should always be serious, think again… tasteful humor and great wit could be great assets when it comes to building relationships and landing more clients.