“Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday?”
That was a 2018 survey question The Gallup Organization asked people in more than 140 countries. Most respondents in their teens through early 20s replied “yes.” But, for the majority of those 23 and older, the answer was “no.”
According to the results, people are much less likely to laugh - especially at work - between the ages of 23 and 70.
“Humor can diffuse tension and bring us together like nothing else,” said Shankar Vedantam, host of the radio show / podcast Hidden Brain. “And yet, [it’s] often missing in many parts of our lives.”
In the episode entitled “Humor Us,” Vedantam talks with Jennifer Aaker, a Behavioral Scientist and Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business. And because she’s not quite busy enough, she authored the book, “Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life.”
“Humor is completely under-leveraged at work,” said Professor Aaker, noting that people who apply it on the job are seen as more competent and confident. Humor can be used to create “a more inclusive environment, where you feel like you’re on the same team. It shortens the distance between people.”
“Once you’ve laughed with someone it feels like you’ve bonded with them,” said Vedantam. Aaker agreed, adding that feeling can have a positive impact on the relationship for years.
She said, “Humor allows you to interact with someone in a way that cultivates trust.” In fact, just tossing in a humorous line at the end of a sales presentation has been shown to boost a customer’s willingness to buy by 18%.
“Many of us think we need to be serious in order to be taken seriously,” said Vedantam. “But researchers are finding that humor is a powerful way to unlock creativity and productivity.”
Laughter releases endorphins and the feel-good hormone oxytocin, and produces a sense of calm by reducing cortisol. With all those positive chemical changes in the brain, laughing “is like exercising, meditating and having sex all at the same time,” according to Vedantam.
He also pointed out that humor can be used as an educational tool. “[It] allows the message to get in, in a way that’s very sticky.” That’s why it can be an ideal delivery vehicle for marketing content.
And that’s one of the reasons our Humor On Hold is so effective. That humorous “spoonful of sugar” helps the “marketing medicine” go down.
So many people - including your callers - are working from home these days and may not have the opportunity to interact with co-workers in a fun way. They need laughter more than ever. By converting the negative of holding into a pleasant surprise, Humor On Hold can be an unexpected bright spot for your customers. We can apply a humorous approach to your other marketing channels, too, including your website, online videos and social media.
As we’ve said many times, humor is a great gift you can give to your callers. A line from Professor Aaker’s book echoes that sentiment: “When humor exists love is not far behind.”