The corporate power of humor - Executips


Monday, August 28, 2023

The corporate power of humor

 This is my best proof that humor is good for business:

I was in the car with my brother when we asked a tabloid vendor for directions. He cracked a joke that made me laugh. I told my brother to buy from this man. I don’t even read tabloids. I just wanted to reward the man for his positive disposition.

More proofs: The Forbes.Com website cited an Oracle study showing that 90% of people are more likely to remember a brand if its ad was funny. 

In the book Humor, Seriously, authors Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas said that resumes with a touch of humor attract the attention of potential employers.

In a Stanford Business podcast, Bagdonas asserted that when we laugh, the brain releases the neurotransmitter oxytocin. Also known as the “love hormone”, it is responsible for creating emotional bonds between people. 

Laughing together is effective for strengthening teams. An Oxford University study showed that strangers became more open with one another after watching funny videos together. The same result came out of a similar study by Sara Algoe and Laura Kurtz. Algoe, a social psychologist, explained that “shared laughter signals that they (the strangers) see the world in the same way, and it momentarily boosts their sense of connection.”

Evolutionary scientists have already cited the survival value of similarities. In the very old times, people needed to see proofs of similarity before they would trust another. Up to now, we feel an instant connection to people who share our interests, beliefs, or hometown. ( If you're interested in somebody, better discuss plants and pets before bringing up politics!)

It is great for gatherings like office meetings, seminars, or prayer assemblies to have a lot of laughter. People would like to keep coming. I have never heard any person say, “I just kept laughing, I got bored” or "I am excited to listen to the fault-finding preacher!"

Aaker and Bagdonas also advised that it is good for a leader to have a sense of humor. A boss who looks approachable and who is someone that can laugh at their own mistakes can promote an environment conducive to innovations. People are more upbeat and more willing to express ideas when the office is a safe place for new thinking.

That’s my personal style, by the way. I like to turn every meeting I preside over into joke time. I want my peers to feel that no one will be jailed for sharing ideas that are laughable, silly, stupid. As a creative director, I know that great ideas are sometimes born as “stupid” ideas.

I believe it is better to keep my staff laughing than to buy them pizza. But I may be wrong.

You may read:

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky

Being Funny Pays Off: Let’s Bring Humor Back to Advertising by Juan Isaza on Forbes.Com

How Laughter Brings Us Together by Jill Suttie on Greatergood.Berkeley.Edu

Humor, Seriously by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas

Make ‘Em Laugh: How Humor Can Be the Secret Weapon in Your Communication by Matt Abrahams on Insights by Stanford Business (

To Build Rapport – Laugh Together! by Phyllis Pollack on Mediate.Com

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