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Research Finds That If You Can Laugh At Yourself, You’re A Potential Leader

Research Finds That If You Can Laugh At Yourself, You’re A Potential Leader

We have all had those moments when we do something silly and then pause; should we laugh or should we cry? If, in those moments of embarrassment and awkwardness you choose to laugh chances are you are a satisfied and fulfilled person.

Two distinct studies have shown that people who have the ability to laugh at themselves displayed positive and desirable qualities. The first of these studies con conducted by Ursula Beermann and Willibald Ruch people who know how to laugh at themselves tend to be more cheerful and less serious than those who remain solemn. The second one shows a surprising link between the ability to laugh at oneself and your leadership potential.

The First Study: You’re More Cheerful And Less Serious In Nature

The study consisted of seventy undergraduate students. The students were asked to rate their ability to laugh at themselves. They then selected on or two peers to provide their external opinion on the issue. While the participants were filling out their questionnaires on a computer the screen camera took a picture of them; without their knowledge of awareness. The researchers then manipulated and distorted the photos.

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They participants were then shown six distorted images of themselves. The facial responses of the participants were videotaped and analyzed. The researchers looked for four signs: experienced funniness, smiles, Duchenne displays (which are symmetrical smiles that involve creasing of the muscles around the eyes), and laughter. Fake and masking smiles were also studied and recorded.

80 percent of participants showed a genuine smile at least once when viewing their distorted image. The participants who stated in the survey that they were able to laugh at themselves proved to be correct. Furthermore, their peers’ perception of them supported their correct self-assessment. These people also showed fewer signs of fake smiles and  negative emotions.

Those participants who laughed more at themselves tended to be more cheerful, less serious in nature and were in a better mood on the day of testing.

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The Second Study: You’re A Better Leader

A Study conducted by Researchers Colette Hoption, Julian Barling, and Nick Turner found that in the workplace, leaders who are able to laugh at themselves and not at their colleagues were viewed as more likable, caring and trustworthy.

The researchers hypothesized that when a leader joked about themselves in a critical way people would view them as someone who values jokes and shows concern for others.

“We chose humor as a mechanism through which leaders express their concern for others (vs. the self) because of the potential for humor to be both a weapon to harm others and a tool to build relationships,”  the researchers wrote.

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By making fun of themselves the leaders showed disregard for the difference in status between them and their workers and this was viewed as concern for others.

The study consisted of 155 business students. The students were place d in one of four humor conditions:  making fun of yourself, making fun of someone else, making fun of a common trait between the leader and the employees, and a control condition with no humor. The participants were then asked to read a speech that introduced a new employee. The line the participants read out was changed according to the group they were placed in. For example, the people in the making fun of yourself group read out a line that joked about themselves: “I am so glad that Pat took this job despite knowing all about me!”

The leader who poked fun at themselves was rated as more trustworthy and a better leader.

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Numerous Benefits

Poking fun at yourself is a trait that has many benefits. It builds up a sense of trust in the workplace; makes you more likable and gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. If you are a person who knows how to make a good joke about yourself then you may already be reaping the benefits. If, however, you tend to be more solemn, why not try cracking a few self- deprecating jokes here and there?

Featured photo credit: The Body Is Not Anapology via thebodyisnotanapology.com

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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