Humour is a superpower at work, in life: Book

Prime News, National, Book, Humour, New Delhi, December 3:- A new book shows how to use humour to enhance creativity and problem-solving, influence and motivate others, build bonds and defuse tension within teams, and create a culture where colleagues feel safe and joyful.

Humour is regarded as one of the most powerful tools for accomplishing serious work. Studies claim that humour makes people appear more competent and confident, strengthens relationships, unlocks creativity, and boosts their resilience during difficult times.

Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas teach a course titled “Humour: Serious Business” at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where they help some of the world’s most hard-driving business minds build levity into their organisations and lives.

In their book “Humour, Seriously,” Aaker and Bagdonas draw on findings by behavioural scientists, popular comedians, and inspiring business leaders to reveal how humour works and how one can begin his or her ascent back up the humour cliff.

They unpack the theory and application of humour: what makes something funny, how to mine one’s life for material, and how to use more of it in one’s life and work. They show how to use humour to make a strong first impression, deliver difficult feedback, persuade and motivate others, and foster cultures where levity and creativity can thrive.

The authors say that from a research perspective, humour is serious business and it’s vastly underleveraged in most workplaces today.

“We wrote this book to set the record straight, to unpack the benefits of humour for our careers, our businesses, and our lives using the sexiest means known to academics: behavioural science. In it, you’ll learn why humour is so powerful, why it’s underutilised, and – most important – how you can use more of it, better,” they write.

They debunk four of the most common myths about humour at work – believing that humour simply has no place amid serious work; a deep, paralysing fear that their humour will fail; one has to be funny; and humour is an innate ability, not a skill one can learn.

Aaker and Bagdonas also explore four distinct styles of humour – stand-up, sweetheart, magnet, and sniper.

While stand-ups are natural entertainers who aren’t afraid to ruffle a few feathers to get a laugh, sweethearts often fly under the radar and prefer their humour planned and understated.

Magnets keep things positive, warm, and uplifting, avoiding controversial or upsetting humour while radiating charisma; and snipers are edgy, sarcastic, and nuanced, unafraid to cross lines in pursuit of a laugh.

“Most of us have some sense of which humour style comes most naturally, but these labels are by no means absolute. Our style can vary depending on our mood, the situation, and the audience,” the book, published by Penguin Business, says.

“Some of us might love being the centre of attention and telling loud, offensive jokes when out with a few close friends but are more likely to share a small, ironic observation in a crowd. Or we might be biting and sarcastic (in a loving way) at home with our partner but keep our humour light and positive with our team at work,” it says.

The authors also discuss how brains are hardwired to respond to humour and laughter, and how humour has been proven in behavioural research to increase perceptions of status, quicken the path to meaningful connection, unlock creativity and innovation, and boost resilience.

Delving into the world of comedy, they try to understand what makes something funny, training our brains to look at the world through a different lens, and crafting humour using the techniques of professional comedians. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)

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