The Importance of Having a Sense of Humour
In business today many people, including trainers, think that if they become more somber, stoic or serious that will give them a degree of gravitas so that they will be taken more seriously, which in turn means that it will help create a sense of superiority over others.
In addition, in a drive to be politically expedient, it is sometimes seen that ‘having a laugh’ or being self-deprecating is, in some way, wrong and not the right way for a so-called ‘professional’ to behave.
If we stop and consider for a moment that one of the main purposes of training is to engage the learner so that they can be open to new experiences then and receptive to new ideas, we first need to make them feel comfortable.
This feeling of being comfortable in our presence breaks down barriers between the learner and the tutor which is the foundation from which rapport can be built and relationships made with those on our courses. This is very important if we wish our learners to connect with us as trainers and not feel alienated and isolated.
Let’s face it, many people who attend courses suffer with fear and anxiety. Sometimes their anxiety is warranted because of the way they have been possibly badly treated on previous courses by a trainer or training team that use their position as means of disconnecting them from their learners.
Sometimes their anxiety is self-generated by the learners lack of self-esteem and self-worth, which is not addressed can lead to a learner not engaging as part of a group and therefore, not getting the best from their learning experience.
Therefore, I think it’s important for all of us to be able to laugh at ourselves and be able not to take ourselves so seriously.
It’s not about the belittling humour that puts others down and yourself up. It’s about using self-deprecating humour to bring people together on common ground. This creates the basis for building rapport and connections with others.
If you can manage to laugh at yourself, be self-deprecating and get others to laugh at you without feeling guilty about laughing at you then that is a humour that doesn’t demean but humour that becomes an invitation to everyone to join in the laughter together. It connects people and creates a level playing field.
Sadly, some people do like to belittle others because they are unsure of themselves and think that the best way of asserting who they are is by putting others down. That is not the correct use of humour because it creates separation and division.
Whereas the positive kind of humour encourages everyone to relate to each other at the same level. It does not belittle either of us but allows us to recognise and laugh about our shared humanity and our vulnerabilities and our shared frailties.
Life can be hard, but shared and self-deprecating humour and laughter is how we can come to terms with all the ironies and cruelties and uncertainties that we face and it does seem that there is an evolutionary role for laughter and humour in managing the anxiety and stress of the unknown.
Other people are one of the greatest sources of uncertainty in our lives, so it’s not surprising that humour is used to manage and massage these encounters.
I believe that one of the best ways of connecting with people is the capacity of making them laugh. If we are able to laugh at ourselves then everyone knows you are not pompous.
We should learn to laugh at ourselves more. It’s really the easiest place to begin. It’s about humility and humanity and creates connections from which all human beings can cooperate with each other in a symbiotic and mutually beneficial way.
This is why I am so proud of our training team. They have a great sense of humour and use it in a self-deprecating way to connect with those we train so that everyone feels part of the NFPS family from the minute they meet us.
And one day we’ll hopefully welcome you into that family too.