JS Tip 42: From the Customer Service Workshops: Using Humor, Part Deux

Last week, we invited your examples of appropriate and inappropriate uses of humor in a business setting.

Wow. Incredible response.

Our thanks to all who sent in examples. Thank you.

From those examples, we picked Lezlee Whiting’s example of appropriate humor:

Bill was often late for work, and his boss told him he’d fire him if he was late again.

A few days later, Bill walked into the office two minutes late. The office was as quiet as a loser’s locker room. The co-workers knew what was coming.

Bill walked to his boss, put his hand out, and introduced himself: “Good morning, I’m Bill Wright and I understand you have a position that became available just two minutes ago. I’m here to apply for the job! Does the early bird get the worm?”

The office exploded in laughter. Bill got to keep his job.

Yes. That would work.

An anonymous friend shared this story of inappropriate humor:

During a conference call with representatives from more than one financial institution, negotiations were progressing nicely. Then, following a reference to a recent news report, one of the participants made a negative comment about the President of the United States. 

All conversation stopped. Finally, another said the statement was inappropriate, and the group should move past it and proceed.

It shocked the entire group and damaged the credibility of the person making the statement.

Humor is a two-edged sword. As we said two weeks ago, be careful.