People tell me I’m funny, but looks aren’t everything

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Apparently, being funny is good for your career. According to this article, there are lots of benefits to a sense of humor in the workplace.

But what if you’re not funny?

We all know people who seem to be humorless. They may appreciate other people’s humor but they simply don’t have it in them to make anyone laugh.

Can you learn to be funny? I’m thinking not. And the only thing worse than having no sense of humor is thinking you do.

Trying to be funny when you don’t have a funny bone could do a lot of harm. In front of a jury, for example, a natural sense of humor, used appropriately, can score points. If you miss, it could be disastrous.

Some lawyers take “stand up comedy” courses. Others take acting classes to learn how to loosen up in front of a crowd. Do they help? Maybe. But at the end of the day, I’m in the camp that says you either have it or you don’t.

If you’re not naturally funny, it’s okay. On the Star Trek series, the Klingon character Worf is depicted as someone with no sense of humor. Nevertheless, he is respected, trusted, and generally liked. He would die to protect his friends and colleagues, he just won’t die laughing.

A sense of humor is a valuable asset but there are other ways to improve communication and foster liking and trust. Becoming a good listener is a notable example and it is a skill that can be learned.

In Dale Carnegie’s, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” he doesn’t say anything about being funny. He does talk about the next best thing: smiling. When you smile, people see you as happy and friendly and nice, and they like you because of it. When you smile, they smile and they feel good about themselves, and about you.

Smile and the world smiles with you. Tell a bad joke and the world rolls their eyes.

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