In good or bad times, humour always helps.
You would be hard-pressed to find a human being that doesn’t like to laugh.
Think amongst your friends and peers, I’m sure many of the most memorable ones are those you find the funniest.
Unless you are lucky enough to work in the field of comedy, humour may not be something you consider valuable in the workplace, but in recent years I’ve found myself increasingly noticing how valuable humour can be, in all times and all situations. Let me explain…
One of my greatest personal flaws is a tendency to take things too seriously. In an attempt to try and be as productive and effective as possible, particularly in a business setting, I’ll default to ‘serious mode’, only asking work-related questions, taking everything literally and generally just being too focused on the task at hand that I lose sight of the bigger picture.
I’ve been incredibly lucky to find a business partner who as well as being perhaps the most talented person at his craft that I’ve ever met, he also possesses the innate charisma to instantly make anyone he meets laugh. And upon reflection, I feel much of the success he’s achieved can be largely attributed first and foremost to the way he interacts with people (the fact he can back this up with incredible work is incredibly important too).
You’ve surely heard the old cliche, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and my intuition says that in pretty much every business, not just our personal field of content creation, people will choose to work with people they like.
As content creators I feel we can often place unnecessary importance on all the minute details of our craft and think that the fact we use this particular camera setting or edit using that particular preset will put us head and shoulders above the rest of the crowd and have clients flocking to do business with us.
Now that’s not to say that the intricate details of your craft aren’t important and something deserving of your time and thought…
… it’s just that my intuition says if that clients don’t feel connected with you they’re not going to hire you in the first place.
If you’re experience in the content creation world is anything like mine, then the majority of your work has come through word of mouth. Very rarely have clients found us through online searches. I’ve noticed nearly always when looking for content production professionals people will first and foremost ask their peer group for recommendations they’ve worked with before, rather than start with an online search.
Doing great work for your clients is vitally important, but if you are wanting to be that person that always gets recommended my intuition and experience says that clients will recommend the person that they enjoyed working with the most.
Enjoyment is something I feel often gets overlooked in a production context. Whether you’re working with experienced on camera talent such as professional athlete, musician, celebrity or a nervous employee at a company who’s terrified to be on camera for the first time, making sure that they are enjoying the experience is hugely beneficial.
This is where humour comes in, taking yourself too seriously in either of these situations isn’t going to get the best out of your talent. Creating an enjoyable environment can make tit a more fun experience for an interviewee who’s been on camera thousands of times before and less intimidating for someone on their first time in front of the lens.
Apart from making sure that the humour is understandably appropriate and suitable for the situation, the most effective humour is often the type that comes naturally to you. Always make sure it’s not a laugh at the expense of anyone on set or teasing someone about something they might be uncomfortable or sensitive about.
If like me humour doesn’t come naturally to you, I’ve found a good guide is to either make some playful self-deprecating comments or brush up on your list of ‘Dad Jokes’, these are always a safe bet.
In many ways humour shows you’re confident and have command of the situation. It’s important to be focused, but everyone will feel more relaxed if you’re able to smile and make a joke in tense moments, rather than be running around stressed and panicking. It’s like the duck furiously paddling below the surface of the water, while looking serene and calm floating on top.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly humour, in my experience, makes every situation better.
If you’re having a great day on set and everything is going well of course humour is going to be well received. But it’s the tough low moments where humour can be the most valuable.
If things aren’t going your way getting down, complaining or stressing out isn’t going to do anything to help lift the mood and get things going in a better direction. But from my experience even in the most difficult of moments, even the slightest smile can start to shift things back in a positive fashion.
Humour makes a good situation great and a bad situation better.
So remember, humour is practical.
And I wish you every success,