Workplace Jokes: When and How to Make Them

February 2, 2017

While it may seem like there's little in the way to joke about of late, being able to make your colleagues laugh—especially at the right time—is a skill that can pay serious career dividends, according to research cited by the Wall Street Journal.

According to the research, which was conducted by researchers at the Wharton Business School and Harvard Business School, "simply recalling a funny joke by a co-worker elevated the joke-teller’s status in participants' minds"—meaning that those with the ability to create camaraderie or defuse tension with a well-placed quip came to be seen as more respected and powerful.

But, as WSJ columnist Sue Shellenbarger points out in the following video, any aspiring office comedians really need to keep that "well-placed" piece in mind. As Shellenbarger says, "you really have to understand the setting. It's always OK to make gentle fun of yourself, [use] self-deprecating humor, gentle teasing of colleagues you know really well or make fun of something everybody's frustrated about, or defuse a conflict."

Additionally, it's also important to understand the timing. Shellenbarger notes that, as well as being relaxed, wise-cracking colleagues need to be "sensitive to the setting […] trying to drop a one-liner into the middle of a really serious meeting where everyone's trying to make a big decision is probably not going to be taken too well.

Check out the full video, which includes an anecdote on how a single joke can completely change your reputation, here:

 

by Phil Stott 

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