Thanks to my joke-loving colleague Bheeshmar for sharing the results of a new study that shows the relationship between humor in team meetings and productivity. The study investigated the relationship between humor patterns in team interactions and team performance.
So, lets take a break for a little marketing humor, shall we?!
How many marketers does it take to change a light bulb?
It isn’t too late to make this neon instead, is it?
Ok, back to the blog post….
The research examined behavioral patterns of humor and laughter in real teams by videotaping and coding humor and laughter during regular organizational team meetings. It found that humor patterns triggered positive socioemotional communication, procedural structure, and new solutions. Benefits were seen in terms of team performance both immediately and two years later.
However, in order for these positive results to be seen, there needed to be both humor and laughter. So for example, someone telling bad jokes that no one thinks are funny will not produce the desired result. Also, the level of job security that team members feel is an important factor in the success of humor patterns.
Here are some ideas for fostering this kind of environment in your company and team:
Hire the Right People.
Make sure that the people you hire are people you don’t only respect, but who you enjoy personally as well. The interviews should offer an opportunity to get an idea of the other’s sense of humor. Have everyone on your team meet with a prospective employee before they’re hired and ask for their feedback. Is this someone they feel they would enjoy working with?
Make Space for Levity.
Build in some time during meetings for fun – ask everyone about their weekend at a Monday meeting, or what they have planned if it’s Friday. Once in a while, you can even ask everyone to come with a joke to tell. Or, ask if anyone has seen any funny videos on YouTube that they want to share.
Build Fun into Daily Work.
Many companies use IM technology or internal social networks, and these can be a great place for humor as well. At Bloomfire, we have created a “watercooler” group on our IM software that gives folks a place to share jokes, memes, and other fun distractions when they need a break.
An example of some IM silliness at work today.
The next time you think of something funny to say during a meeting, don’t hold back! Share it and if it gets laughs, let your boss know she can thank you with a promotion later on for making everyone more productive. Or at least plan a team outing to the local comedy club!
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