“There's a psychological principle called the priming effect that says our brains are wired to see what we've been set up to expect. In essence, we find what we choose to look for. So when we live our lives on the precipice of a smile, we shift how we interact with the world, and in turn, how it interacts back.” Aaker and Naomi gave a practical example of how to infuse humor into your work with just one small adjustment: play around with your email sign-off. Instead of mindlessly writing “Best,” (as I admit I am apt to do), consider if there’s a way that you might give your recipient a little smile or chuckle. Like maybe, they say, “When you’ve been up all night: Yours heavily caffeinated.” In order to make this shift to using humor fulfill its goal of feeling like play rather than feeling like an awkward task, Aaker and Naomi remind us, “Start by recognizing it’s not about you. So don’t ask ‘Will this make me sound funny?’ Instead, ask: ‘How will this make other people feel?’” Creating a culture of play can foster deeper connections, more creative solutions, and increased engagement — plus it’s fun! Writing to you in my daytime pajamas, Alicia <1> Dutton, Jane. "Build High Quality Connections" in How to Be a Positive Leader, 2014. Alicia Haun is a content marketing intern at Riverbank Consulting Group. Alicia is a senior at the University of Michigan, where she also works with the Center for Positive Organizations at the Ross School of Business. Alicia is passionate about the field of positive organizational psychology and looks forward to helping work become a place of flourishing.
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