“The Traveller--Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” – Robert Frost! Catatan Perjalanan.: The Power of Humor

Catatan Perjalanan.

Apr 13, 2012

The Power of Humor

A noted and respected speaker was up to the stage to deliver his presentation. As he was climbing up, he stumbled and fell, face first to the stage floor. The audience was dumbfounded and felt an overwhelming tenseness. Unexpectedly, the speaker stood up, dusted off his suit and with an innocent expression said, “Before I continue, are there any questions?” Immediately, the audience roared back in laughter.

Using humor, in an instant he was able to regain his composure and control of the situation. Imagine what would happen if the speaker backed down from the stage, lashed at the host or even sulked and went home?

In the last 15 years, people’s perception of humor has changed. In the past, cracking jokes were considered a ridiculous and improper behaviour. Nowadays, humor can be accepted in places that were previously would make people raise their eyebrows, such as in company board rooms. For in reality, light and brilliant humor can produce big results. Stress causes our mind pendulum to swing to one side only. Humor is one of the way to balance the pendulum allowing our psyche to regain its middle position.

1. Humor heals.
Dr. Bernie Siegel and Dr. Patch Adams wrote a book on the power of hope and humor in healing. The story is put into film titled Patch Adams. Another important discovery i.e. laughter can strengthen body’s immunity, relaxes the nerves, calm down anger. For those who would like to have a pleasing face, do not make it habit to sport a sour face, as a sour expression requires more work – in comparison to laughter -- for the facial muscles.

2. Humor as a subtle criticism
Immersed in the dynamics of his own presentation, a consultant has a tendency to ramble on. The audience which were mostly business executives were annoyed, bored and restless. In the middle of the presentation, suddenly the sound system failed, making the consultant to stop his presentation and to ask his audience, “Can the gentleman in the back hear me without the microphone?” To which the gentleman referred to answered, “No!” Suddenly, one of the audience who sat at the front row stood up and said to the gentleman in the back, “I can hear, let us change seat. You in front and I’ll sit in the back.

3. Humor sells.
Selling need not mean to be interpreted physically. These days, ideas sell and even you can sell “yourself.” If you are a marketer, do not hesitate to laugh when it is appropriate, for basically “consumers” like sellers who can make them happy and who have sense of humor. If you are looking for a job, do not put on a tense face during interview.

4. Humor breaks the ice.
One night at a company event, one senior executive was “picked” by the ceremony host to sing. As he could not refuse to do so despite having no sufficient training for singing, he nevertheless went up the stage. After scanning the repertoire book for a suitable song, the high executive sang confidently reading out from the verses displayed in front of him. He was aware that his voice was not much to listen to, out of tune and often leaving the pianist accompanying him behind. He was also aware that the audience clapped their hands out of politeness and to avoid offending him. When he finished singing, he spoke through the microphone, “Ladies and gentlemen, should my singing do not please you, that is not due to me, but the light is not bright enough making it difficult for me to read the verses!” The audience who were already felt ill-at-ease, immediately broke into laughter and the event host who was at a loss to find an appropriate comment was relieved. But what is most important, the ice had been broken!

5. Humor brings results.
Alice Dick, Operation Manager of Standard Motors, said: “ I asked a young man on what he wanted in his life, he said, “Your job.” This is the kind of man I would like to hire.


Eventually, humor brings something. Regardless of its need, humor often opens up a way to help us to be in control of that need. Humor diverts anger, creates credibility, increases rating, makes employees happy to work for us, drawing attention, overcome trubles, extend one’s life expectancy, makes us sleep well and makes others happy.

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