Powerful people know that humour is the greatest weapon in any boardroom. Someone comes at you with serious and stern? Return the remark with a big dose of funny.
Never forget to bring the funny into any tense room. The most influential people use humour to charm and disarm. They understand that a dose of humour can lighten the load and return some equilibrium to a very testy situation. We’re not talking about goofy or inappropriate stuff – we’re talking about a well-placed phrase delivered at just the right moment.
I was in a meeting watching a guy searching for the words to tell his boss that his team had made a huge mistake on a piece of business and they’d have to pay serious dough for it. As the young man searched for the words (clearly terrified), the CEO said “are you trying to ask me out on a date? You know I’m married, right?” The room laughed loudly and the young guy came clean about the problem (easily and calmly) and then the room could focus on how to fix the problem.
The CEO used humour in the best way possible. Not only was it a gracious thing to do (shit happens in business) but the esteem and love and respect for that CEO was palpable. The truly powerful understand the real power of funny.