As always when I'm at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, I find myself hanging around with the delightful Marcia Connor of the Altimeter Group. In between gossiping about industry scandals and debating the best color for Eileen Fisher slacks, Marcia shared a powerful insight.
It's no secret that I enjoy making people laugh, especially when I give a talk. But I've wondered if my urge to be funny helps or hinders getting my point across. Marcia, who started her career as a neuroscience researcher, provided a nuanced and scientific answer:
"Laughter is a higher-level brain function. When people laugh, it activates their brain and primes them for learning and change. If you want to get the most out of being funny, take advantage of laughter by immediately following up with your key points. You'll never have a better chance to teach, persuade, or enlighten."