Like to make a few jokes at Monday morning’s planning meeting? Hey, go nuts—a recent study from the Journal of Applied Psychology has found that meetings with a lot of jokes are actually pretty productive. That is, if everyone is laughing.
Researchers took a bunch of videos of meetings at two German companies, which they were able to use to analyse how often people made jokes, how often they landed, how often they fell flat, how often people joked back and forth, and what kind of productivity happened.
Researchers found that moments after laughter died down from a joke (or chain of jokes), they were more likely to increase productivity and engage in open behaviours, such as brainstorming new ideas, asking questions, offering each other praise, or encouraging participation. In short—collaboration.
That said, these behaviours weren’t as pronounced if jokes failed to land, or worse, hurt somebody.
Humour isn’t a very widely studied subject yet, but findings like this seem to suggest that it’s important to us, given that we’re a working-together sort of species. Just make sure that you have a backup joke ready in case your first one falls flat.