Increase Your Influence With a Laugh

influencing leadership listening Sep 01, 2017

By Brent Kelly

How many times have you actually listened to the flight instructions before takeoff from the flight attendant?

Unless you are petrified of flying and feel that these instruction may indeed save your life, the answer is probably close to zero.  Most airline travelers are reading a book, whispering to their neighbor, or staring out the window during the pre-flight instructions. They are NOT engaged.

Watch this video. Every passenger is listening and laughing. How often do you see that on a flight?

Southwest Airlines is one of the few (maybe only) airlines that has recently been profitable. Southwest Airline customers are loyal. In fact, I have heard some people tell me that they wouldn’t fly on any other airline unless they had to. That’s powerful stuff.


Well, there are many reasons, but humor is near the top of the list.

Southwest is actually a fun airline to fly. Are they perfect? Of course not, but they allow their employees to interact and engage their customers using their own personalities.  The employees actually have fun with the customer and make them laugh. How refreshing is that?

Humor leads to listening and listening increases your influence

Use Southwest Airlines as an example in your business. Humor isn’t about just telling jokes. Humor is connecting with your audience (group or one-on-one) in a way that puts them in a good state of mind.

Humor is extremely powerful in positively influencing those around you, but it also is a skill that requires effort. This lady in the video didn’t suddenly come up with a funny 3-minute script for these passengers. She understood her audience, their needs, their frustrations, and worked hard to have it come off flawlessly.

Maybe you don’t think you have the time or skill-set to use humor like this in your business. 

Let me answer that concern with a question. If you were talking in front of your team, a client, or anyone you wanted to influence, would you be able to keep their attention like this flight attendant did?

Yes, people want to be informed, but they also want to be entertained.

Look for ways to start embedding humor into your presentations and watch your engagement and influence skyrocket.

Question: How are you using humor in your business? 

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