How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Laugh heartily at a joke or story they tell. Be amused by their witticisms. Show you have a sense of humor and that you find their attempts at humor to be funny.
After laughing, immediately pick up with a response such as telling another joke or otherwise shifting the topic to something you want to talk about.
You can also laugh when the person says something that can be construed as funny, even if they did not intend it as such.
Hahahaha! You're very witty you know. You also may...
Brilliant!! I love that. Well I think...
Heh! That reminds me of...
When people make witty cracks, tell jokes or otherwise introduce fun into the conversation they love it when others laugh and show appreciation of their cleverness. There is nothing quite as funny as your own jokes and there is nothing quite as nice as this being appreciated by others.
This works through the exchange principle, as when you laugh at their cleverness, they feel obliged to repay you by allowing you to speak and then listening to what you have to say.
This gives you the space to laugh and so take control of the conversation. The trick is to keep going immediately after laughing as when they are appreciated they immediately want to tell another joke (in order to get even more status).