Make Humor Work For You
Some of you caught onto the fact that I’m a Ted Talk nerd.
I love them! They started as a procrastination technique (sort of like Facebook, but more educational) that I managed to spin into a legitimate research method for fresh CGN content. Imagine my delight when I received my weekly YouTube digest, which featured a Ted Talk by Peter McGraw on “What Makes Things Funny.” Dr. McGraw is the lead researcher at the University of Colorado’s Humor Research Laboratory, or as the fine Doctor refers to it: HuRL.
He had me at the acronym. The man researches humor for a living — you gotta love that! The Ted Talk focused on what HuRL calls the ‘Benign Violation Theory’ to explain why we find humor in the things we do. The theory,
Integrates existing humor theory and builds on the work by Tom Veatch to say humor occurs when and only when three conditions are satisfied:
- The situation is a violation of a social norm (I trip on a curb)
- The situation is benign (I am not hurt)
- And, these two things happen simultaneously (I laugh at my blunder)
In our careers, we often receive caution from others to use humor carefully, but the McGraw disagrees. He believes we all can live more humorous lives and that,
Everyone has a sense of humor under the right circumstances….pay attention to your audience.
Humor breaks down barriers, helps relax people, and bonds them. It’s a potent tool when used correctly.Watch the entire talk here, so you learn when to use the the (Sarah) Silverman Strategy, or the (Jerry) Seinfeld Strategy in a particular situation.