No laughing matter

No laughing matter

Life is a solemn business, I’m sure you’ll agree. If we don’t take it seriously we will likely squander it, become wastrals and trash the vessel we were so generously endowed with? Piffle! Life is meant to be enjoyable. Like every other species, we’ll have some suffering, maybe a lot. Hopefully our fellow humans will support us when we do, help us recover our wellbeing, lift our spirits. Life is incredible, often ridiculous. Let us at worst enjoy it, at best revel in it. Above all, let us laugh at ourselves as we strive to make it fun.

Managers as a breed don’t seem to agree with this. For them the quickly scribbled note before the contentious, serious meeting, pen returned to inner pocket to prove there is one. An Agenda has no jokes in it unless, perhaps, you think all the items are a bit of a joke. “Money isn’t funny”- I can’t find the originator of this pompous quip but I’m sure there is one. Although – BitCoin and the other Cryptos can be forgiven for raising a titter.

No, Business, like Life, is a Solemn Affair, not to be Trifled With.

Speak, however, about “communications” and everyone will spring to attention. Coms, too, are pretty straight faced, but there is a certain margin for wit and humour. Oscar Wilde is not totally forgotten. He it was who established the lasting link between humour and creativity. Perceiving relationships is a rum, not to say funny, business. It is at the root of creativity. A good meeting chairperson is quick to see when humour will lighten the load of even the most trenchant nay-sayers. Chairpeople have their uses, too.

Not only does humour improve creativity, the dopamine it induces makes us happier. Go one stage further and precipitate a laugh and you start tinkering with the brain’s chemistry. ‘They’ may not notice but I’ll bet you will. Lower the cortisol and your stress levels will plummet. Introduce a smidgeon of endorphins and you will become positively euphoric. How can you resist such a promise of lighter living?

A word of warning. If you have no sense of humour, don’t attempt any of the above. There is nothing worse than Compulsory Fun – “All Will Enjoy”. Polite titters at the Chairperson’s forced jokes is Doom to Pleasure, and dangerously Threatening to Continued Employment.

You don’t need to worry, though. I was addressing the humourless.

You know how to Smile – you’ve put a little ‘post-it’ underneath your camera reminding you to do so. You may even have adopted my simple rule that no meeting shall exceed eight minutes without a laugh. One of the few rules I police vigorously. And you will certainly be on the lookout for words that provide a grin. Altogether I can tell that you will have a thoroughly lively, good-humoured team working with you.

After all, humour in management is no laughing matter.