Laugh Yourself to a Better Network
By Frank Agin
Here is sound advice for both franchisees and franchisors. Mr. Agin
reminds us of the role humor plays in the business world.
Having a good sense of humor – whether you are creating the laughter or
simply enjoying it – is essential to getting people to know, like and trust you
and establishing a productive network.
Ask yourself, who are you drawn to … someone who expresses his or her sense of
humor on a consistent basis or the person who makes every moment ultra-serious?
Of course, these are two extremes. Nevertheless, if you had to lean one way or
another, which would it be? If you consider this question carefully, you would
probably conclude that you would be much more comfortable associating with the
person with a sense of humor.
Laughter, which is the productive result of humor, is the universal language.
It is something that every culture enjoys – there has never been (and likely
never will be) a society that does not embrace a good chuckle. It is something
that people of all ages take pleasure in – from tiny babies to those on their
deathbeds. It transcends economic status – the rich, the poor, and everyone in
between enjoy a good laugh (although maybe not at the same things).
The enjoyment of laughter is one quality that you have in common with
everyone on the planet. As such, it would make sense that, all things being
equal; you would opt to associate with the individual who demonstrates a good
sense of humor over someone who does not. Thus, humor is important to building a
You may have heard or read a statement like, “There is no place in business
for humor.” Unfortunately, far too often we buy into it. Think about it. You are
one person at home – fun loving, with a wide-ranging sense of humor. Then
everyone expects you to be someone else when the workday begins – stoic and ever
Much is wrong with this mindset. Certainly, this attitude strips a degree of
enjoyment out of what amounts to the lion’s share of our day. More importantly,
this is not a good practice of networking. Yes, there is the risk that humor
will serve to tarnish your image of being mature and professional. Additionally,
there is humor that is simply not in good taste. Thus, in today’s politically
correct environment you need to be careful with when and how you employ humor.
This does not mean that you need to abandon it altogether, however.
You do not need a stage or everyone’s focus to direct attention to an ironic
situation (such as a boss who clamors for more productivity but cannot help but
take a mid-afternoon nap). You can also ease the stress of a generally
tension-filled business environment by simply throwing out an off-handed
comment. These humoristic remarks need only generate a mere smile and a chuckle.
It can be nothing more than a comment about the weather, the local favorite
sports team or the quality of office coffee.
On the other hand, you do not necessarily need to be the source of the
levity. You can add to the lightness of the moment by laughing at the humor of
others or acknowledging them for their wit and comic relief.
Humor and laughter, as long as it is appropriately used, reminds others that
you are human. It is something with which anyone can identify and it is
something to which everyone is drawn. In short, humor helps you build know, like
and trust. It is nearly impossible to dislike someone who has made us laugh or
is genuinely laughing at something funny. So, go ahead and capitalize on a good
Frank Agin is the founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections, an
inexpensive professional services franchise that is designed to be worked on a
part-time basis and dovetail with an existing business or profession. If you
have questions or comments regarding this article, using social media or
networking in generate, or information on AmSpirit Business Connections, please
feel free to contact Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2011 FranchiseKnowHow, LLC
Ed Teixeira is the President of FranchiseKnowHow, LLC. He
can be reached at email@example.com