People are often envious of those who are funny and able to make others laugh. I know I am envious of Dennis Miller, Jack Black, early Steve Martin, and Bill Cosby, circa 1966. Cosby’s comedy album “Wonderfulness” from that year is pure comedy gold. Anyone can learn to be more humorous with a little practice. Humor is a technique that can be learned, developed, and perfected just like origami (OK, not like origami, but you get the idea).
Incorporate humor into your daily life. Once you cultivate humor, you have the foundation for intellectual rapport. Not every attempt will get a knee-slapping belly laugh; your mission is bigger than that. A comedian succeeds just by being funny, but a networker succeeds only when the humor helps to create a positive impression.
But of course, humor will never substitute for solid listening skills. Mix too much yuck-yuck with too little care or respect and you will plummet, crash, and burn.
Some people will not even desire or enjoy humor. It will not take a rocket scientist to spot these folks because they will be the cats that won’t laugh at anything. The best thing to do in this scenario is to play it straight. Cut the humor and ask another open-ended question that gets them talking. Remember, the goal is to deliver a solid first impression. You are not auditioning for a gig on Jimmy Fallon.
Contributed by: Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success