Thats Funny How To Use Humor in Persuasion Part One

You know what's funny? The use of humor in positive persuasion! And I'll tell you why, even though it seems a bit obvious. The use of humor allows us to speak to the universality of the human experience. More, it invites people to laugh at themselves, or laugh with us at ourselves. Or laugh with us at others, while missing the point that the joke is, in fact, on us. Everyone loves quotes. And all speakers use them.

What is so funny about quotes? How about quoting myself? Because, as I say quite often, "United we stand, but divided, we can not stand each other!" And I could not agree more. Humor breaks down the barriers that keep us divided and polarized. Humor builds bridges to bring us together. The use of humor puts people on common footing, it attracts and holds interest. And it creates a positive atmosphere, goodwill to all, that is helpful when you want communication to be particularly meaningful. The use of humor can get past stubborn resistance and set the table for dialog.

Humor has such a positive impact on people that more and more businesses (not the dead-serious ones though!) use it to train and retain employees. Humor is a powerful tool for the person serious about creating positive change. Why? Well, in case I haven't made the point, not because I say so. It's a fact. Humor is persuasive.

But let's be honest. Not all humor is equally funny. In fact, bad humor is also one of the fastest ways to put people in a bad mood, undermine relationships, create hard feelings, offend sensibilities, poison an atmosphere and destroy what could have been a great event, project, team, business, or community.

And I'd say that it is safe to say that not all funny is funny to all. In-jokes are usually only funny to the people in on the joke, the people who shared the experience with you. They tend to leave everyone else drawing a blank. But sometimes, you tell an in-joke, the people who are in start laughing, and the people who aren't in on the joke start laughing too! And at that very moment, they may wonder what's so funny. They might even say it aloud?because they are wondering why 'we' are all laughing. Still, you just can't please all the people all the time.

If it is tasteless, spare us. Unless you know us and know that our taste runs all the way to tasteless. And really, the only way to know what is and isn't funny is to know as much as you can about who you are talking to and find out what you can about what they find funny. That can't be too hard to do.

Just pay attention, and notice what gets them laughing. More about humor in persuasion can be found in the second part of this article series. In the meantime, remember. No, there are no stupid questions. Just stupid people!.

Dr. Rick Kirschner is a speaker, trainer, teletrainer, coach, and author of the 'INSIDER'S GUIDE TO THE ART OF PERSUASION: Use Your Influence To Change Your World,' now available, along with a blog, newsletter and free podcast, at . SPECIAL OFFER! For a limited time, you can get a $49 value audio program on Dealing With Difficult People absolutely free! Visit for details!


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