How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Benefits of humor
Humor has many benefits for communication and persuasion. Here are just a few...
Studies by Fabio Sala at the Hay Group have shown that humor (used skillfully):
Executives who were ranked as outstanding used humor over twice as often those ranked average (17.8 times/hr vs. 7.5 times/hr). They used mostly positive or neutral humor, but also sometimes used negative humor (for example as a put-down). They also received greater bonuses.
Although humor may not be a necessary and sufficient factor to gain all these benefits, it is at least a marker, perhaps, of emotional intelligence.
Research by Clouse and Spurgeon has also shown that a good joke or playful laughter can boost creativity, initiate conversation and generally build a more trusting atmosphere.
Other research by Bettinghaus and Cody (1994) and Foot (1997) showed that humor:
Playful joking also increases the likelihood of financial concessions during a negotiation. Relaxing the other person and building trust makes them see you more as a friend and hence deserving of a better deal.
Humor is also good for your health. Although this is not directly related to changing minds, people who are healthier are more likely to be able to pay attention and will want to listen to your ideas.
Some of the ways in which laughter makes you healthier include:
Other benefits of humor include:
Fabio Sala, Laughing all the way to the bank, Harvard Business Review, September 2003, pp 16-17
R. W. Clouse and K. L. Spurgeon, Corporate Analysis of Humor, Psychology: A Journal of Human Behavior 32 (1995). pp 1-24
Bettinghaus, E. and Cody, M. (1994). Persuasive communication, Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace
Foot, H. (1997). 'Humor and laughter', in O. Hargie (ed) The handbook of communication skills (2nd edn), London: Routledge