ByMargaret Wood, Editor

Remember in school, when you got into trouble  for laughing, and disrupting the class? Everyone was told to settle down or you were sent to the principals office…for laughing! We went on to high school and perhaps college where we got the admonishing looks (you know-the “head down, over the glasses” look!)from the instructor/professor if you disrupted the silence. All that’s changing now, everywhere…

Then we got jobs and everyone grunted  something when they came in (presumably it was “good morning” !) and went straight to their cubicle. But sometime later in the day, when boredom set in, someone would sneek a peek over their cubicle and throw something, usually a crumpled piece or a piece of candy. That’s all it took to start the chain reaction; pretty soon, everyone was laughing and into it, getting up to see what was going on, taking the opportunity to get up and stretch, going to the breakroom, laughing  the whole time,  as they got their next cup of coffee or bottle of water. This is where things get better…

Everyone actually started getting to know each other.  Occasionally, unless your boss was a stick-in-the-mud, he joined in and he actually started getting to know his employees! The tides have shifted! We all need ALL the stress relievers we can get! Laughing throughout the day has been proven to do just that!

Connecting with People through Laughter

Laughter and humor are great tools for building trust, breaking down barriers between people of different ranks and improving communication. Great leaders use this tactic all the time – they understand the value of humor in connecting with people.

When entering a room that may be tense, and if you are skilled enough, use a humorous anecdote or quip —this works well to change the mood almost instantly and helps everyone relax. Take the level of seriousness down a couple of notches—your audience will be more responsive and will better receive the messages you want them to absorb.

Humor and laughter will also help others appreciate the fact that you understand and help elevate the level of confidence.  So, go ahead! Have a good laugh with your peers, your boss, and your employees – the kind that brings tears to your eyes and causes you to double over with pain from laughing so hard.  It’s healthy AND contagious!