Thursday, May 26, 2005

Communication and Humour

In this issue;
Communication and Humour

Humour has an amazing ability to build a bond among people. When people laugh they connect at a higher level due to the release of endorphins in their system.
As well the pleasure enables what you are learning to enter through your amygdala in your brain, which increases learning and memory capabilities.

There are two aspects to communication and humour. One is more intentional and the other is a factor of the language itself which creates puns and faux pas.

I have seen people use humour as a way to calm their nerves down. They start reciting one-liners that are irrelevant or unrelated to the subject matter at hand. This generally bombs.
There is nothing worse than trying to sound funny and finding out you are getting no reaction from the audience.

I have also seen people go into areas that they think are funny, but the audience does not.
These can be in areas such as: sexist, racial, gender, blonde, cultural etc. It is important to consider your audience, and even if you think that they would like them, you don’t always know and it can be a very dangerous area to go into.

Most humour that succeeds are stories that relate either to the subject matter or to help get a point across. I know one man who didn’t even try to be funny. He just related some of his own mishaps along the way to where he has got in life, which came out hilarious. These are things that people can relate to or understand on some level.

The audience generally can see themselves in that predicament and visualize it in their heads.

To illustrate this, when we communicate with people there is a high probability for misunderstandings, which can take on some, very ironic or funny outcomes.

One area that causes problems for children and many adults, are the words don’t and not, which are abstract and do not register in the brain. They just see the words after don’t and not. For example if you said to a child, "Don’t spill the milk", their brains see, "Spill the Milk". And statistics show that 9 times out of 10 the child will spill the milk

I remember a time this person was heading to a donut shop and she asked if anyone would like anything. I said that she could grab me a muffin. When she asked what type, I said, oh anything as long as it is not bran or blueberry.

I could see her repeating to her self, no bran, no blueberry. When she got back, she handed me a large blueberry bran muffin. The two that I didn’t like nicely combined.

This is why we teach that you should be asking for what you do want as apposed to what you don’t want.

Metaphors can also be great when you enter humour through related stories, as people tend to listen more intently and remember more vividly. It is all about keeping it in tune with how you are and what you do.

The second area of humour comes from the fact that we have so many words with double meanings as well homonyms and synonyms.
Puns for example when used well can have people laughing or have people wanting to throw things at you.

Humor can also ease the tension in a discussion when there appears to be a conflict. When people are laughing they tend to find the middle ground easier. Sometimes using humor to break a pattern is enough to get the discussion back to problem solving instead of being stuck in an ego battle.

The best type of humor... That is when you can laugh at yourself, any mistakes you've made, continue on with a smile and know that you now have a new learning experience to grow on.

P.S. If you like what you're reading in this ezine, you'll
love the book, "Overcoming Barriers to Communication."
It's a manual that helps you overcome the challengers that start with
Intrapersonal to Interpersonal and on to Mass Communication.
Overcoming Barriers to Communication

Communication Mastery Survey!
Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey.
For those who didn't have a chance, there is still time for your voice to be heard.
Go to the online survey and let me know what your greatest communication challenges are.
Click here to take the survey

All the Best!
Maria Boomhower
The Master Communicator
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