Here is a re-post from Chris Brady’s blog:
Leadership is about the influence one has with others. To gain that influence, one must be an effective performer, trustworthy, visionary, and a whole host of other things we described in Launching a Leadership Revolution. There are some “soft” side considerations, too. One of these, often ignored, is humor.
Both the ability to inspire mirth and the quickness with which one laughs are effective skills in gaining influence. Why? Because people like to be around those who are fun and make them laugh.
Below are ten ways to increase your ability to both appreciate humor and to contribute to the laughter:
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously – the world is overstuffed with people puffed up with their own self-importance. Distance yourselves from these bores by taking everything seriously except yourself.
2. Have an attitude of gratitude – one of the things holding many people back from humor is their bad attitude. They are in too bad a mood to see the funny side of anything. You won’t appreciate the subtly that is humor unless you are appreciative to begin with.
3. Make your foibles the subject matter – the most enjoyable people to be around are those who are able and quick to laugh at themselves. Conversely, the worst kind of people to be around are those who laugh at others.
4. Stay away from sarcasm – humor is dangerous, especially when it is biting or berating. Tread carefully, and especially when it comes to your “humor style.” Sarcasm may be fun to dish out, but it is never enjoyable to receive.
5. Be good-hearted – one of the things most endearing about someone is their good heart. It comes through in everything they say. When people intrinsically feel that you mean no harm and are instead only interested in their well being, they will be unguarded around you and open to your every statement. This relaxed posture makes everything you say more funny.
6. Tell stories – some of the merriest moments occur naturally as we live our lives. Capture those moments in your mind in story form and save them for later. Being able to tell good, humorous stories is always a skill in demand.
7. Become a prodigious noticer – Mark Twain first coined that term, giving away the secret of his mirth. Comedy comes from noticing the small and subtle things about this life we share together. It is this prodigious noticing that will give you the stories to tell in #6.
8. Techniques – there are some skills that enhance humor, such as timing, delivery, facial expressions, dramatization, gestures, and the like. Over time and with practice, develop a style all your own.
9. Circular – bringing something back around into a conversation that occurred earlier can be hilarious. Watch for ways to apply earlier humor to new situations.
10. Be a good laugher – one of the keys to reducing tension in a room is to be a good laugher yourself. Laughter is actually contagious. Be quick to enjoy others and their stabs at humor and their own moods will lighten and be more prepared to receive your quips, as well.
I could go on all day here, but one final piece of advice about humor: know when to quit!