Forced humor sucks.
Nine times out of ten, YOUR brand of funny probably isn’t the same as someone else’s.
So proceed with caution.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to sit down with Eddie Brill, long-time warm-up comedian for David Letterman. Eddie’s been in the funny business his entire career. (He’s been with Letterman 16 years, a lifetime in the industry.)
We snacked on a vegan lunch (he’s a raw foodie) and chatted about humor, business, and if you can marry the two successfully.
He said yes…with a few caveats.
Eddie talks fast. He’s full of stories. He’s funny as hell.
And he shared 7 Wisdoms to Master BEFORE Busting Out Humor in Business:
Wisdom #1: Be compelling.
If you’re going to use humor in your business, you’d better be connected to the material you’re presenting and you’d better deliver it in a way that’s interesting and authentic. Other people can sense your authenticity (or lack of).
Wisdom #2: Tell every story like it is the first time.
People love stories. And when you share stories in your business with passion and humor, others will gravitate toward your message. Never, ever appear to be reading from a script. The delivery just won’t work.
Wisdom #3: Laughter heals.
It makes the medicine go down. If you tell someone a difficult truth it had better be funny. If you don’t make them laugh, they’ll likely punch you in the face.
Wisdom #4: Laughter makes people comfortable.
It puts others at ease and makes them feel good. Laughter is contagious and spreads happiness.
Wisdom #5: Show vulnerability.
Say “we” instead of “you.” It’s never, “You Suck.” It’s “We Suck.” When you use the word you, your audience may feel attacked or judged. I oftentimes use “we” in my material so the audience knows we’re on the same team.
Wisdom #6: Self-deprecation is a slippery slope.
While it may be funny to say “Hey, I make mistakes like everyone else”, it’s definitely NOT funny when you say you’re worthless or a piece of s*hit. If you don’t respect yourself, why should the audience respect you?
Wisdom #7: Don’t TRY to be funny.
Be natural. Have a real conversation. Others know when you’re authentic and when you’re not. So get real. Get your material from real life. Humor, in business or otherwise, works best when it’s grounded in truth.
My big take away from my time with Eddie is that there absolutely IS a place in business for humor.
But it’s got to be tasteful.
Marketing and business writer Susan St. Maur shares, “I think it’s wise to use humor as a spicy condiment in your business communications. And just as you would with the chili powder, use it in moderation if you don’t know your audience well…and if you know they have a sensitive palate, don’t use it at all!” I agree.
Are you using humor to win in business? Please share your experiences below!
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P.S. You can catch me live in Denver on Tuesday night, February 19th at the By Women for Women event. (I’ll be sharing insider secrets to set your business up for fast and sustainable income!) Click here and I’ll e-mail you the details.
P.S.S. My team is working behind the scenes to finalize the details of my new 1% Club Master Mind Group in Denver. If you want the playbook for building a sustainable, profitable business on YOUR terms, click here for more info. (These spaces will fill quickly, if you want in on this, PLEASE don’t wait.)