Improving Communication Skills through Humor

Could you improve your communications with the effective use of humor?


Marshall Chiles has been a professional comedian for 20 years and has founded and operated festivals and comedy clubs around the country -- including the iconic Laughing Skull Lounge in Atlanta, Georgia. At night, Marshall works with many of the top names in comedy; during the day, he coaches leaders and sales teams in the effective use of humor in the workplace, as a way to engage employees, connect with colleagues and improve organizational culture. In this video, Marshall relays the "Humor Rules" that lead to more engaging and persuasive communication. By applying Marshall's proven approach, we can all learn to more effectively engage our colleagues or teams while avoiding the mishaps and misuse of comedy in the workplace. Try out the Humor Rules and take your first steps to effectively using humor in your presentations, workshops and meetings.

So most leaders know that humor increases persuasion's effectiveness, but they're concerned about how to apply humor because they don't want to offend anybody. They don't want to get into trouble. They don't want to have to deal with HR and get letters. Plus, it's kind of tricky. It's a difficult way to apply humor.

What I teach leaders are the humor rules. Comedy plus business equals humor so if you're going to apply comedy in the business world, follow the humor rules and you'll be okay. The first rule is don't make fun of any group of people. That's when you come across offensive and you generalize and you do all that stuff. And it's not going to go over well.

The next rule is to keep it above the belt. Don't make any sexual references. That's too easy anyways and you're better than that.The next rule is to stay away from religion and politics. Even if the person agrees with you, it's going to make him uncomfortable. Have you ever been to a party and you meet some dude and right away they start telling you their religious and political views? Even if you agree with him, you're like, "All right, man. I'm going to go hang out with the guacamole dip."

Now, the next rule is don't use any words that have violent images. When you're using humor, you're trying to make somebody feel positive and happy. You want to have positive images in their head. When you use a violent image word it puts a violent image in their head and it makes it counterproductive.

The other rule is stay away from unsafe subjects. If you're a leader and you start making jokes about laying people off, you're going to have a very unhappy team and probably a much smaller team because everybody is going to go look for jobs.So follow the humor rules and you'll be okay 99% of the time. The other 1% of the time, you probably don't want to be working with that person anyways.


Marshall Chiles

Marshall Chiles has been a professional comedian since 2000, while building several comedy clubs and festivals around the country. He combines his 23 years of entrepreneur success and 15 years of stand-up comedy experience to help mak...

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