“Be well-prepared with a pointy joke that helps convey the inappropriateness of the remarks and embarrass the person cracking the joke without being combative.” Dr Vanessa Marcie
Always be ready with a funny comeback. In your career, you might have encountered inappropriate comments, sexist or racist remarks. Perhaps it is even recurrent. If you know something like that might happen again, you can get ready to respond with humour.
Some topics, such as sexism, discrimination or racism, have been extensively treated by comedians all over the world. Humour professionals have dedicated their time and talent to craft jokes that you can borrow, make your own and reuse. It will help you to always have a ready comeback in your pocket.
Find your voice
It is important to have clarity on how you want to respond in these situations. Often people tell me they don’t want to respond aggressively to an inappropriate comment. It is understandable. We are not all equal when confronted with aggressive humour, and we don’t all deal with it in the same way. If I feel attacked, I will respond aggressively, but there are other avenues to explore. But first, you need to be crystal clear on how to respond in agreement with your values.
Self-awareness is essential
It all starts with knowing your sense of humour is, but also what the tone of your voice will be, and how you would like to respond. Do you want to accept your colleague’s sense of humour? If the style of humour your colleagues use is unpleasant, you still have a choice to accept it and play along or change the conversation.
Change the conversation
Let’s take the subject of sexual jokes in the workplace; as a comedian and woman who built her career in male-dominated industries, I’m used to listening and responding when confronted with the topic. However, I understand that some people are not comfortable. You don’t have to accept and play along if you are not comfortable with a topic. But, rather than avoiding to take part in any office banter you can shift the conversation focus and deliver jokes on a subject you are comfortable with. You would still respect your values and use humour as a tool for inclusion. In the process, opening the doors to the “boy’s club.”
Finding your own voice allow you to have a clear understanding of what is acceptable or not (play along or move the conversation) and use a type of humour that resembles more of the type of person you really are.
- Borrow material from comedians
- Find your own voice
- Understand yourself
- Change the conversation
Do you lead a team? Do you want to improve your leadership skills? Learn how to use Humour in Leadership. We offer a curriculum of virtual classes (new dates added regularly) and 1-1 coaching programmes to help leaders to master a leadership tool for the 21st century: humour. Our curriculum is designed to provide deep self-awareness, awareness of others and a mindset shift on work and life.
Do you want to bring Leading With Humour at your workplace? Find out how.