Women & Humor – How to Use Your Humor Nature in a World of Wise Guys

One of the best books I’ve read on how women can incorporate humor into their lives and work is Mackoff’s book, “What Mona Lisa Knew: A woman’s guide to getting ahead in business by lightening up.” Mackoff maintains that women are hesitant to use their sense of humor in the world of work. After all, we women have spent centuries earning the right seriously! We need to strive for perfection, be aggressive, defend ourselves, and act like a man! Or do we?…This kind of thinking puts others on the defensive. The more we try to portray a perfect image, the more that people will be waiting and watching for us to slip up. You can’t relax, they can’t relax. You won’t risk trying new ideas, because your image is at stake.Your sense of humor conveys your authority. The very fact that you don’t allow yourself to get ruffled by others’ remarks shows your self-composure. By keeping your sense of humor, you maintain control of the situation.Women’s sense of humor differs from men’s style of humor. Women have a sense of humor that reflects shared experiences, is situational, respects personal taboos, and is empathic. Men’s sense of humor is more rational, literal, and aggressive.Women can use their unique style of humor to highlight the absurdity of a situation and playfully redefine the situation in a non-aggressive manner. This process helps to dissolve discord by avoiding humiliating yourself or others. In this way, you can subdue your attackers by getting into harmony with them. First, Mackoff suggests, we should mirror the other person’s comment, and then build on it with exaggeration. You are not agreeing with the comment, only reflecting its absurdity.Women play a key role in being a model for other women (and men) in transforming the workplace. By utilizing our natural, non-offensive style of humor, we not only protect our image, we create a more calm and productive work environment.