Leadership & Humour - Leading NLP Center Malaysia
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Humour is a really simple, yet effective tool that many people and leaders seldom use, surprisingly. There really are incredible benefits to using humour when communicating with others. It cuts tension and helps people be at ease by creates a bit of laughter. It’s why we always remember funny commercials and those are the ones that typically sell well, compared to the informative ones.

It’s funny how some people have convinced themselves that they aren’t funny people because don’t have a ‘funny bone’. That’s right!!!…Because we ALL KNOW bones are the part of the human body that produces vitamin F (for Funny). The reality is, humour only requires an open mind. Having that ensures you are able to build and strengthen their sense of humour.

As a leader or entrepreneur, you cannot afford not to use this advantage to your benefit. Communicating with humour doesn’t just help sell an idea, or influence a better reaction to a plan; it also makes it easier for the listener to stay engaged with the speaker. The secret is that humour opens up our ability to ‘relate’ – With people and with topics.

As human beings, we like feeling good. Humour builds relationships very easily because as I mentioned, it helps us feel good about the messenger. We also want to feel connected as human beings. So feeling good with others amplifies what is being communicated. That’s why laughing together feels better than laughing by yourself.

We are hardwired in our human physiology to relate this feeling to the person, which (for better or worse) helps the person seem more credible and trustworthy. Making communications more humourous is easy because humour, like confidence and charisma, is an inherent sense born within all of us.It certainly doesn’t come from bones! This is most evident in babies from the day they are born and open their eyes. Babies are always full of life and while they cry a lot, they are fully capable of laughing at the simplest things without attending a class or consciously understanding what an open mind is.

The difference is simply that as some of us grow, we learn how to suppress this natural ability. Whatever the reason you had before for hiding your brilliance, or in this case ‘humour’, you must learn to now ‘de-program’ that old behavior and allow it this new behaviour to become your advantage.


Fear or embarrassment? Fear of rejection? Fear of Failure? Our good friend, mentor, and foremost expert on charisma, Owen Fitzpatrick, often refers to these three as the enemies of charisma. It’s why most people hesitate to even try to tell a joke! Here is how you overcome them:

  1. Embarrassment is an individual choice. Someone can’t MAKE you feel embarrassed. You simply choose to decide to feel it. People can ridicule you or heckle at you but if you choose to let those words affect you, it will. Imagine how silly they would look instead trying to publicly heckle at you for simply being who you are or for breathing air? Because it doesn’t make sense to you to feel embarrassed about that, you simply choose not to feel embarrassed and it doesn’t matter how much they harder they try to ridicule you. Moreover, thinking this way allows you clarity to see how heckling is simply projecting their own insecurity.
  2. Although we might have thought so once upon a time, rejection is really never personal. What people reject is sometimes the content of your joke or perhaps disagrees with the delivery. And sometimes, it is completely different with no connection to you at all! So it’s never about you personally. Therefore, taking rejection personally is a completely useless and waste of resources. It’s as if you allowed one person to reject you for the rest of your life in your mind. So why would you? Rejection has been valuable feedback for countless comedians to adjust and come back stronger. It’s a call to action to improve, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Failure also doesn’t exist unless we choose to give up. Not succeeding in one instance with one person doesn’t guarantee failure forever. It simply means one specific strategy or plan didn’t produce the intended outcome. And when something doesn’t work, it’s just feedback to do something differently than previously attempted. There are valuable things to be learned and refined from each attempt. Any feat of success, great or small, have been achieved through seeing every setback as feedback to be learned from and improved on. A quiet response is feedback for adjustments to be made on the next attempt.


One of the simplest tips I have learned to start building that bridge of humour and relationship with others is so simple and small, it’s positively ‘pun-y’. A pun here and there lightens the atmosphere with even the weakest delivery. Of course, I do advise moderation as abusing it will make you an absolute nightmare!

However, it is a win-win in most situations because even if people don’t laugh or smile, you are putting in the effort to help people feel good or be lightened up by the attempt. It’s as the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts” and it is so true especially in those awkward social moments.

Even for those who groan at puns, in their minds they are secretly entertained because in their minds, it satisfies a mental connection. This is proven because they understand the relationship or connection in the pun. At the very least, their brain recognises the shared ability you both have to see the connection. It’s very elementary, but remarkably affective.

This by no means implies you should use humour every time with everyone. There’s always context to think about. Also some jokes aren’t delivered well or simply aren’t funny for a number of other reasons. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work or you should stop trying entirely. Humour isn’t everything by itself just as leaders aren’t leaders without the cooperation of others. Leading others simply by barking orders all the time earn neither trust nor loyalty. However, using humour together with your leadership approaches will get you more than just cooperation, it will build stronger relationships.

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For other useful tips and other life changing ideas, please read our other blogs and learn the #AuthenticNLP™ with NaviGo® NLP Center.

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