If I touch your funny bone, I unlock your barriers. Humor is the instant disarmer in any gathering, which is why it’s so useful in marketing.
Yeah, but not everyone is a comedian. How do you bring the funny to your game?
Listen to funny people.
Remember that as a growing infant and toddler, you learned how to be a little human through absorption of what was around you. Even if comedy isn’t in your nature, you can nurture yourself to recognize humor and wield it yourself.
Find a podcast that is not only interesting but consistently makes you chuckle. (One of my favorites is “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”) Listen to the cadence used by who’s talking. Notice the inflections in each phrase. Pay attention to how a slight twist of words can turn something “meh” into something that cracks a smile. Repeat back what it was that made you laugh so you can assess all of these pieces which made the joke.
Read, read, read.
Knowing how to use words couldn’t be more key to knowing how to create humor. Think about your favorite stand-up comedians. I can’t think of one that, in spite of using slang or even skewed grammar, isn’t incredibly well-spoken. They spin those rules on purpose because it makes a joke, not because they don’t know how to form a sentence.
If you read a lot, you give your brain fodder for the funny. Keep the pipeline for your humor practice strong with a solid use of your library card or ereader device.
Try it outloud.
Before taking on this step, make sure your self-esteem is firmly in place. Testing out jokes on your circles means that you’ll inevitably “bomb” and feel the full awkward of missing the mark. That’s OK. If you think about it, life is full of those moments which is how you shape your approach to do better next time. Being funny is no different, and there’s no better testing ground than instant reaction.
Know your audience.
And we’re back to Marketing 101. To illustrate this important and final point, I defer to a man who kept television audiences laughing for over a decade and has his one-liners repeated daily by millions. Yet even he knew the value of knowing his audience before cracking the humor.
Humor takes risk, time, and work. It’s so worth it. I’d love to read some of your own wit-wielding if you’ll share it below! You may inspire others to find their funny.