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How to Be Funny at Work

Topics: Work Culture
Laughing Man
Image Credit: Pexels / nappy

Is this thing on? When you’re trying to make an impression at work, you might be tempted to do some impressions, and maybe try a sight gag or two. But being “funny” in the workplace doesn’t have to mean you put on a wig and big red nose. Getting a few laughs can be a great way to break tension, make connections, and bring a sense of levity to a stuffy boardroom. Here’s how:

1. Be Memorable

From the start, you can use humor to make a great impression in the workplace. Sitting in front of an HR manager or a triumvirate of managers out to judge your worthiness is definitely a difficult place to be. Incorporating a bit of levity into a presentation, for example, can show that you’re more than just numbers; You’re a human being that can add a lot to the team.

Author Andrew Tarvin related how he got hired in his TED Talk. (The secret, it seems, is puns.)

[video-with-snippets name=”The Skill of Humor | Andrew Tarvin | TEDx” thumbnailUrl=”” embedUrl=”” uploadDate=”2018-04-13″ description=”Humor is something that transcends most barriers. It is a common unification; a concept understood by all. Despite this, there exists a large portion of the population that does not think they can utilize humor. Andrew Tarvin will show you that everyone can use humor.” ] [/video-with-snippets]

2. Make Connections 

Laughing at the office is a good thing! Those conversations at the water cooler are great setups to make a co-worker laugh. What can you talk about if not something funny that happened to you that weekend, or the hilarious video you just watched. I mean, it’s just that easy.

3. Don’t Go Negative

Do we really have to say that you shouldn’t joke at someone else’s expense? You shouldn’t. Jokes about someone’s ability, disability, looks, economic outlook, neighborhood, car, shirt, child, or choice of lipstick are off limits. (You can always joke about sports. That’s fair game. But not about any specific player in the above ways.) Use common sense here.

4. You Might Need Practice

Want to work up some zingers during your next work presentation? You might need to work on that a little bit. There are lots of tips out there so you can literally practice being funny. Try your speech out on a friend or relative. Practice. Get comfortable with not only what you’re saying, but your comedic timing and delivery, too. Relax! That’s what you’re trying to do here, after all.

5. Look For Funny Employers

Not getting any laughs? If you want a space where your humor might be better received than your current stuffy workplace, then look for employers who do funny all the time. Advertising is a good bet that a company might have a bit of a cheeky attitude. Think about the last commercial you heard or saw that made you laugh out loud. Maybe that company would love your knock knock jokes at the end of the quarterly reports.

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