When used appropriately, meeting humor can help participants to focus, ease frayed nerves and breathe oxygen into a stale conversation.
Humor can “enhance creativity, elevate collegiality, and improve long term job performance” wrote professor of psychology Cindi May in a Scientific American article.
Although our first reaction might be to think that humor would derail a meeting, or indicate that it’s already off track, a recent study found the opposite to be true: Humor can promote a positive work environment and build group cohesion.
The study, which investigated the relationship between humor and team interaction, also found that humor often jump started broader questions and creative problem-solving.
Of course, there are times when jokes will fall flat or a humorous comment will accidentally offend people. This is especially true if people have a lot of insecurity about their future, or if the leader of the meeting – particularly a high-level executive – has shown a preference for more serious behavior.
Aside from these limitations, fun meetings can be better meetings. So make a point of adding a little humor to your next meeting. But before you start practicing your stand-up comedy routine, consider the following tips.