For me, the strategic use of humor is another tool in my mediation tool box. Mediation participants often need humor to release tension and this helps folks focus on the hard decisions to be made at mediation. Further, according to Humor and Health Journal, laughing lowers blood pressure, reduces stress hormones, increases immune function, releases endorphins, and produces a general sense of well-being. Laughing also provides a workout for the diaphragm and increases oxygen flow providing a cleansing effect similar to deep breathing. With all these benefits, you should try to figure out how to “laugh your way through mediation.”
On a serious note, you must use humor with care and careful consideration. The joke you tell one group may not work with another and your timing must be impeccable. If you have ever tried something that was funny to you, but fell flat, then you know what I mean. It’s not the end of the world, but you sure feel bad given the looks you get. I suggest that you do not start off with “funny” comments or a joke and save this tool for a later moment after you have built rapport and can gauge your audience.
I sometimes bring in what I call “conflict comics” that provide a laugh. One of my favorites is a Calvin and
How about you? Please pass on your favorite mediation humor stories with a comment!