According to a PRSA article, 79 percent of CEOs think a sense of humor is important in the workplace. More studies show similar results: the happiest employees take 66 percent less sick leave, and 80 percent of their efforts to work-related tasks. (As opposed to miserable employees who devote only 40 percent of their time to their work needs.)
There are several benefits from a great sense of humor. These benefits will contribute to a more open work environment, where employees will work together more peacefully, and it will also help with the work itself. This is because happy employees will work harder and better for their boss.
So why use humor? A funny presentation will engage employees and clients much more easily and naturally than a typical business presentation. Currently, traditional business presentations are infamous for their mundane and never-ending nature. On the other hand, humor will stand out and help to sell a point faster than anything else.
Take caution though, because poor use of humor will destroy your argument, alienate your audience, and decrease your credibility immensely. Learning the rules for humor in business writing is akin to using it at the workplace: always apply humor appropriately, safely, and sparingly.
Steve Cody, managing partner and co-founder of Peppercomm Communications, noticed the similarities between good comedy and good leadership when he began his stand-up comedy career.
“I noticed that stand-up comedy was making me a better business executive. It was sharpening my presentation skills…but I also found myself becoming a far better learner” Cody said.
Below are some guidelines by Ken Scudder on how to use humor in your business writing:
1. Be appropriate. Work extra-hard not to offend
2. Be relevant. Your jokes must enhance, not distract.
3. Be self-effacing. Jokes about yourself work best.
4. Be funny. A bad joke is worse than none at all.