In our Fierce Females series, we introduce you to the inspiring women in the EB community.
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We, working professionals, have fallen off the Humor Cliff. In fact, around the time we enter the workforce, the number of times we laugh and smile on an average day starts to plummet.
And yet, research shows that humor is one of the most powerful tools we have for accomplishing serious work. Studies reveal that humor makes us appear more competent and confident, strengthens relationships, unlocks creativity, and boosts our resilience during difficult times. Plus, it fends off a permanent and unsightly frown known as “resting boss face”.
Top executives are in on the secret: 98 percent prefer employees with a sense of humor, and 84 percent believe these employees do better work. But even for those who intuitively understand humor’s power, few know how to wield it with intention. As a result, humor is vastly underleveraged in most workplaces today, impacting our performance, relationships, and health.
That’s why Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas teach the popular course Humor: Serious Business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, where they help some of the world’s most hard-driving, blazer-wearing business minds build levity into their organizations and lives. In Humor, Seriously, they draw on findings by behavioral scientists, world-class comedians, and inspiring business leaders to reveal how humor works and—more importantly—how you can begin your ascent back up the humor cliff.
Aaker and Bagdonas unpack the theory and application of humor: what makes something funny, how to mine your life for material, and how to use more of it in your life and work. They show how to use humor to make a strong first impression, deliver difficult feedback, persuade and motivate others, and foster cultures where levity and creativity can thrive. Not to mention, how to keep it appropriate and recover if you cross a line.
"Humor is a powerful tool for fostering connections between people. It’s an act of social courage that, when used correctly, has a transformative effect. Humor, Seriously gives us the tools we need to deploy humor expertly in any environment."
NAOMI BAGDONAS (Left) is a Lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and an Executive Coach. She helps leaders be more creative, flexible and resilient in the face of change by facilitating interactive sessions for Fortune 100 companies and coaching executives and celebrities for appearances ranging from Saturday Night Live to the Today Show. Formally trained at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, Bagdonas performs at comedy venues and teaches improv in San Francisco’s county jail. Her constant stream of foster dogs describe her as gullible and full of treats.
"I am in love with the hipster, and it's not just because we are hip– but that might be part of it."