Did you know that people would rather be around someone with a smile in their heart than someone with heartburn in their heart?
While too much clowning is disruptive and distracting, a little humor can make someone’s day. Just look at the success of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report with Steven Colbert. They are delivering remarkably bad news with a spoonfull of sugar, and it definitely makes it easier to know what’s going on than if the full horror of it was focused on (the way the other channels do).
I learned this lesson first by watching my little brother, Gary Kirschner. He has an uncanny way with people, and has had for his entire adult life. He was my first great example of the value of humor in building a business! The other person who shows me this regularly is my daughter Aden Kirschner, an improvisational comic and communication trainer in Austin, Texas. Her good humor and warmth are irresistible, and as a result, she touches many lives.
Finding humor and sharing it is one of the simplest ways to keep your wits about you. Good humor breaks down the barriers that keep us divided and polarized, and builds bridges to bring us together. Humor discharges resistance, overcomes stubbornness, and creates opportunity for dialog. We open presentations with humor to attract interest. We insert something a little foolish into a meeting to put people on common footing. We do something fun together to create an atmosphere of goodwill that is conducive to meaningful communication. In other words, good humor is a powerful tool for the person serious about creating positive change.
But not all humor is fun, and bad humor is one of the fastest ways to put people in a bad mood, undermine relationships, create hard feelings, offend sensibilities, poison an atmosphere and destroy what could have been a great event, project, team, business, or community. If it is tasteless, please spare us, unless you know us and know that our taste runs all the way to tasteless. Seriously, folks. If you want to know more about light heartedness, pay attention, look around and take in all the irony. Because, with very few exceptions, funny happens pretty much all the time.
Your comments and feedback are welcome below.