5 Ways to Integrate Humor Into Your Meeting Experience

If you’re looking to increase collaboration and productivity, consider inviting humor to the meeting table.

If you think financial planning or executive board meetings need to be 100 percent serious to be productive, you’re wrong—or so says science. It turns out, it may pay to bring some humor to the meeting room.

A study published in November’s Journal of Applied Psychology that examined behavioral patterns of humor and laughter in real teams linked them to increased productivity. The study’s abstract reads, in part:

“At the behavioral unit level within the team interaction process, lag sequential analysis identified humor and laughter patterns occurring above chance (e.g., a joke followed by laughter, followed by another joke). Moreover, humor patterns triggered positive socioemotional communication, procedural structure, and new solutions. At the team level, humor patterns (but not humor or laughter alone) positively related to team performance, both immediately and 2 years later.”

But how can you lighten up meetings to help generate those helpful humor patterns?

5 Ideas to Bring Humor to the Meeting Space

- Open the meeting with a funny (but appropriate) YouTube video.


- Hold a baby photo contest by gathering attendee photos beforehand. Show the photos on a screen and have attendees guess whose it is.


- Ask each team member to write one little-known personal fact about himself or herself on a slip of paper. Read each out loud and have the team members guess the writer.


- At the beginning of the meeting or during a break, play “Two Truths and a Lie.” Each attendee shares two facts about themselves and one lie. Team members have to guess which statement is false.


- Get attendees out of their comfort zone by having them engage in a creative activity, such as using watercolors or paint.