There is no denying the awesome power of humor, but like any powerful weapon its impact can be positive or profoundly negative.
The right humor at the right time can boost a sales call, enhance a job interview, drive a viral re-tweet, and grab the attention of millions on a television commercial.
But of course humor also has the power to annoy, embarrass and repel.
According to a recent study, 74% of the general population thinks they have a good sense of humor. 86% of people in sales think they have a good sense of humor. And 92% of people in advertising and marketing think they have a good sense of humor.
So we should all be yucking it up practically all of the time, right? The challenge we all face is that our perception of humor (both good and bad) is unique to our individual psychology.
Do you think these three jokes are funny?
What did one cannibal say to the other while they were eating a clown?
Does this taste funny to you?
How are a chicken and a grape alike?
They are both purple… except for the chicken.
What has four legs and one arm?
A happy pit bull.
These are all relatively bad jokes, but research tells us that 83% of those reading these will find ONE of them at least mildly amusing. But only 12% will find ALL of them amusing. (Who ARE those people, and how can we avoid them?)
Humor is such a complex topic that it is virtually impossible to give anyone hard and fast guidelines for when to use it in selling, job interviewing, etc. If you have the natural "gift" of humor, of course you should use it whenever you can.
If you are uncertain or wondering if you have the "gift" – I think you have your answer.