As a leader, you probably feel your ability, or inability, to deliver humor is an asset, or a liability for you.
“A leader without a sense of humor is apt to be like the grass mower at the cemetery — he has lots of people under him, but nobody is paying him much attention.” Bob Ross
This article makes the case for why humor is so necessary for leaders and presenters today. It explains the underlying psychology that makes humor such an efficient generator of likability and appealing leadership.
“We found the two most desirable traits in leaders were a strong work ethic and a good sense of humor.” Bell Leadership Institute 2012
“Rather than conceptualizing humor as a frivolous or ancillary behavior,we argue that humor plays a fundamental role in shaping interpersonal perceptions and hierarchies within groups.” T. Bradford Bitterly, Wharton Business School, Lead Author 2016
“Colleagues who make others laugh are seen as more self-confident, competent and higher in status, according to a series of experiments by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Harvard Business School.” Wall Street Journal 2017
The good news is with the new site HumorPoint there is a collection of state of the art simple to use curation tools to help you find high quality, ‘guaranteed to work’ humor to enhance your communications and presentations with a few clicks of your mouse. Your sense of humor is about to get a welcome uplift.
“Nobody likes being marketed to, but by taking the funny approach, your message won’t just get received by your target audience, it may actually be welcomed.” Unknown
As a business communication ‘tactic’ the results of humor are consistently impressive.
- The teaser that motivates people to open one email out of the hundreds they see is when they think it’s going to be funny - “John this is hilarious!”
- A determiner of social media success is how funny the content is.
- A predictor of how financially successful you will be as a professional Keynote Speaker is how funny you are.
- A harbinger of a TED Talk’s viral success is how funny it is.
- The quality most desired in a life mate from a study by Match.com and OK Cupid is a sense of humor.
- The most successful Super Bowl commercial year after year is usually the funniest.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
GEICO is a Fortune 500 company that consistently uses the humor strategy (great commercial) to win over new customers. As hilarious as a TV commercial can be, it can take up to thirty seconds for the humorful message to be fully delivered. A great cartoon can deliver a laugh in under five.
Cartoon Sample #1— “Thursday’s Out”
Cartoon Sample #2 — “He Did It!”
Share either of these cartoons in your next presentation and people can’t help but think you’re funny, likable, and smart too. Why? It turns out anyone who can curate and deliver other people’s brilliant humor gets the same credit for having a great sense of humor as the creator of the humor in the first place.
Speaking of leadership, President Obama during his time in office learned to deliver humor well. In 2009, at the Annual National Correspondents Dinner, he poked fun at himself, mocking his own reliance on teleprompters by reading the stage direction off his teleprompter, “Pause for Laughter,” after he told a joke.
Pausing for laughter is a smart way to engage people with your ideas while simultaneously refreshing their interest in your message. Jeffery Gitomor’s quote ‘ The end of laughter is followed by the height of listening’ is true. So let me ‘pause’ for laughter to let you see how effortless it is to deliver crowd-pleasing humor in a presentation. Today, it’s as simple as pressing a ‘laugh’ button.
What a classic, relatable cartoon — anyone who runs a business has been there. I first saw this next cartoon when I was at a large entrepreneur showcase presentation for VCs. The presenter was barely maintaining our interest until halfway through his presentation he smiled, pressed the next button on PowerPoint, and revealed this timeless, humorous take on the difficulties of getting your marketing message just right.
The audience loved it, and almost like magic, he garnered a tsunami of good will, likability, and immediate interest in everything he had to say from then on out. And all he did was share a cartoon with us.
After this experience, I decided to spend a year extensively researching the single-frame cartoon industry’s finest works and their presentation value to see how many more cartoons of this quality and audience impact existed within the cartoon industry.
After personally reviewing over 50,000 cartoons, I found thousands of exceptional cartoons able to deliver near-certain audience pleasure. I was struck by the cognitive power of cartoons to flip the human mind from our problem solving left brain to our pleasure-seeking right brain in seconds.
To be able to seize the power of the cartoon industry’s finest cartoon content and increase its ability to serve the highly demanding, risk-averse, humor requirements of today’s presenters, I realized the cartoon industry needed its’ own search tool.
Working with my friend, Adam Cheyer (one of the original founders and creators of the Apple Siri) we created the world’s first cartoon search engine. It showcases the richness of the cartoon industry’s most brilliant works in one place while engendering new fans and revenue opportunities for cartoonists worldwide.
The right touch of humor in front of an audience is always attractive. Our goal in creating the world’s first cartoon search engine was a simple one — to make it as much fun to find the perfect cartoon for your next presentation as it will be to share it. The great news for presenters today as David Nahil, the founder of the national FunnyBizz Conference, so aptly said, “By being a little bit funnier, you’ll be funnier than most.” James Thurber makes the case for humor even stronger, “Laughter need not be cut out of anything since it improves everything.”
“Laughter short-circuits the natural human instinct to judge. When you’re laughing you stop judging the messenger and focus on the message instead.” Patrick Schwerdtfeger Keynote Mastery
When we think of laughter as a presentation innovation that short-circuits the natural human instinct to judge, it makes for one impressive feature. It works like this — when you ‘laugh’ the ‘protective energy’ normally reserved for ‘judging’ is relaxed. The result is any speaker who uses the ‘human connection touch of humor’ becomes more likable and listenable — which makes all the difference between a snooze fest presentation and an effective one.
“All things being equal, likability will be the deciding factor.” Tim Sanders
“Studies show no matter what people say they prefer likable people over competent people.” Eric Barker
Fortunately, for you, generating a great laugh can now be as easy as pressing the ‘next slide’ button on your presenter software.
The emerging ‘Humor in Business’ Industry — which includes the cartoon industry — is expanding today to help business leaders leverage the power of humor’s communication appeal.
“The shortest distance between two people, is laughter.” Unknown
“When you laugh with someone, you both feel you’re on the same side. It’s a fantastic tool for building a connection. Indeed, for many great speakers, humor has become a super weapon.” Chris Anderson, TED Speaker Curator
“If they’re laughing, they’re buying.” Jeffrey Gitomer
Even with TED Speaker Curator, Chris Anderson’s high praise for humor, many people feel reticence toward the use of humor in their presentations for fear of the dreaded ‘courtesy laugh.’ The purpose of this article is to remove any doubt that the upside opportunity of humor far out ways any imagined risks.
“Once you hear that “laughter,” you know they’re with you.” John Hale
“That is the saving grace of humor; if you fail — no one is laughing at you.” A. Whitney Brown
“Never forget that humor’s ability to poison a presentation, is exceeded only by its capacity to lift it to another level.” Humor 101
And lifting us to another level is what great leaders do.
“Humor is the welcome mat between a speaker and his audience. A short joke, a quick laugh, breaks the ice between you and that sea of strangers. When they laugh they’re immediately on your side. The laughter makes them your friend. It’s the most powerful ammunition you can carry. “Powerful” is the right word for the ammunition that humor gives you. I’ve seen a clever gag or story accomplish more than all the ranting and raving in the world could.” Bob Hope
I’ve even distilled the takeaway from this article down to a catchy phrase you can remind yourself the next time you’re considering whether or not to add a little humor to lighten up your message.
“Any justification your mind conjures up for not using humor…is laughable.” Robert Bostick
Robert Quick Bostick is the founder and creator of HumorPoint, the world’s first curated humor content site for presenters seeking low risk/high impact ‘State of the Art’ humor cued up and ready to deliver for every type of presentation. Robert Bostick and Adam Cheyer (one of the founders and creators of Apple’s Siri) teamed up to create the world’s first curated cartoon search engine, The Perfect Cartoon. Robert has performed live presentations for over thirty-five years, most recently performing, ‘The Mindful Comedian.’
For a consultation to add humor to your next presentation, Keynote or TED Talk, or to have us deliver our Keynote Presentation: “ The Power of Humor and the Humor Tools To Deliver It” contact us here — 510–459–4512 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.