Creating Strong Relationships

Put Your Funny Bone to Work
by The Creative Group

Go ahead and laugh. Your sense of humor can enhance your career prospects and build camaraderie with your colleagues. In a Creative Group survey of advertising executives, 97% ranked a sense of humor important in reaching senior management levels - and more than half said they consider humor very important.

Why the focus on levity? Displaying a sense of humor on the job shows you don't take yourself too seriously and helps relieve tension. A comic touch also helps you build rapport with those around you, opening the lines of communication. The truth is, humor makes you more fun to be around, something that should never be underestimated.

However, before you break out the whoopie cushions on your unsuspecting co-workers, you need to know the dos and don'ts of office jokes. Humor should be appropriate for a workplace setting and never at the expense of others. Following are five tips for showing your lighter side:

  1. Check the "pulse" at work. You likely wouldn't wear black leather pants and your best green wig at a conservative workplace; finding your humor "style" is much the same. Make sure it fits your environment. Humor with an edge may go over better in more entrepreneurial environments, while more subtle comments fit in at established corporations. Fortunately, you don't have to deliver a stand-up routine to demonstrate you have a sense of humor. Being understated is usually most appropriate at work.
  2. Laugh at yourself. Did you make a funny typo in a recent memo? Go ahead, poke fun at your mistake. It puts others at ease, and you don't risk offending anyone by making someone else the target of your joke. Just be sure to keep your comments light, you don't want your co-workers to think your attempt at humor is a cry for help.
  3. Say no to sarcasm. People often use humor as an indirect way of berating others. Here's an example: "I can't believe you turned this project in on deadline,is it a special occasion?" Sarcasm is rarely a good idea. If a comment is negative and rings somewhat true, don't say it. Likewise, steer clear of wisecracks, pranks or practical jokes that are hurtful or insensitive.
  4. Break the chain. Think twice before you email a joke to a long list of co-workers. This may annoy rather than amuse your colleagues, and it may be against company policy. Try to tailor your humor to the individual. A personal touch will make a more memorable impression.
  5. Under-do it. Making a funny comment to ease tension during a meeting is a great idea, but don't follow it with five more jokes. You don't want to look like you're trying too hard. Effortless mastery, or at least the appearance of ease, is the key to good comedy.
  6. Laugh with others. You can be perceived as having a great sense of humor without ever telling a joke. Just tune in to the humor styles of those around you and share in their laughter.

Your work life will be better off with a little laughter. When handled with care, levity is a great ice breaker, tension diffuser and generally helps you build a rapport with others.

The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project basis with a variety of firms. For more information, visit

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