What do we know about humor and persuasion? Multiple studies show that humor connects you to your audience, increases trust and makes your prospect easier to persuade. If your audience is hostile or full of resistance, the studies also show the right dose of humor and the appropriate use of humor will open the door to persuasion and influence. Careful with this one – you might think you are funny, but others probably don’t have the same opinion.
There is a direct correlation between the use of humor and your ability to influence. When you engage someone with humor, it is much more than a mere smile or laugh. Humor disarms your prospect and opens them up, making them more likely to connect with you and trust you. We are drawn to people that make us smile and help us feel better about ourselves or external circumstances. This humor enables your audience to become more receptive and decreases resistance. Another thing that happens is they remember you and continue to hold you in a positive light even after the initial encounter. When you leverage humor, your message receives more weight and consideration.
The benefits of humor are countless and critical for your persuasion power. I am not asking you to be a stand-up comedian, but you can get someone to laugh or even smile. This humor keeps their minds from wandering during your encounter and it reenergizes their soul. In short, it puts them in a good mood and eases their daily tensions. So what does it do for you? The proper use of humor will boost your confidence and increase your likeability. It enables you to establish instant rapport and that will increase trust. Practice your humor. Make sure it works. The brutal bottom line is they will either laugh with you, or feel sorry for you.
Don’t worry if your audience doesn’t laugh or crack a smile. Some people won’t laugh or smile at anything. They might be smiling on the inside or they want to be miserable. Focus on the people you can touch or help crack that smile. Learn to laugh at yourself, the joke may be you. Self-depreciating humor is a great way to connect with your audience. They know that you make mistakes just like them and it makes them more comfortable around you. Always be prepared to have fun, always try to share your happiness and always be ready to use your sense of humor.
Studies show humor helps others:
• Become more open with their feelings
• Reduce their stress and fear
• Experience more life satisfaction
• Enhance their self-image
• Become friendlier
Anyone can use or borrow humor. You can find comics, Youtube videos, entertaining stories or funny jokes that will make any prospect or audience laugh. Always practice your humor before you need it. Always make sure your humor does not insult your audience or take them off topic. You can do this! Practice this week implementing more humor into your life and your presentations.