Frankly, it seems to be that we in the nonprofit sector can just take ourselves a bit too seriously sometimes, and that can be a barrier to connecting with our networks. And it’s hard to get the ok for using humor…we’re scared.
But the folks in your network are humans, too, and enjoy a good laugh just like you do. And, as when you share a laugh with a new-ish colleague or friend, that grin or guffaw can draw the two of you closer together, enriching your relationship. Humor brings people together.
Here are 4 steps to using humor to connect more strongly with your network:
1) Know what your organization and your network have in common and play on that in your humor. That’s the point of connection for all messaging, but especially for humor.
Take the example at top..which was what I saw when I went to my LinkedIn page on April Fools Day. It works because the LinkedIn folks know what we have in common: We both know who Albert Einstein and Robin Hood were (being that LinkedIn is mainly a professional networking social media tool, and the assumption is that participants have completed high school or above in most cases). We shared the joke!
Without knowing your common ground, you’re treading on dangerous ground and may offend.
2) Keep your humor brief and use only periodically. Humor is a “less is more” tactic.
3) Delivery is everything. When you integrate humor into a video, e-news, annual report (I’m still waiting to see that) or conversation, it’s crucial that you fine-tune delivery…from where it falls in the flow of messages, your tone, the pause before or after…
4) Wrap it up while they’re still laughing. Don’t push it. Instead, pause, return to your more typical tone (although serious doesn’t mean deadly!) and cycle in humor from time to time when opportunity surfaces.
- What are key humor do’s and don’ts?
- How is your organization using humor — effectively or ineffectively — to strengthen your relationships?
- What models, or huge fails, have you seen from other organizations?
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