Limiting Mistakes With Humor

Humor is a great psychological tool to get and keeping people on your side. Use it wisely, and use it often—especially when you screw up.

The next time you find yourself staring out at a crowd of people who just saw you make a huge mistake—and they know it was a mistake—don’t ignore it. Don’t try to cover it up. Don’t nervously apologize over and over. Use humor.

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Communication

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The Tom Brokaw Method

... to recover from a mistake with humor:

  • Acknowledge the mistake. There’s no hiding it now. Everyone saw!
  • Correct the mistake. If it’s necessary, make whatever correction you need to get things back on track.
  • Make a joke. Make fun of yourself. Get everyone laughing and they won’t care anymore.
  • Move on! And don’t bring up your flub again until you’re totally in the clear.

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Learning from mistakes

You can only learn from a mistake after you admit you've made it.

Don't start blaming other people (or the universe) for the things that go wrong, because you distance yourself from any possible lesson. 

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Humor at work

Being funny can have both positive and negative consequences, in your personal as well as your professional life. And context is always important: when making a joke, for instance, you should definitely make sure the moment is appropriate for such a behavior.

Making the good jokes at the proper moment can help you become everybody's favorite at the workplace. However, making a bad joke can lead even to being fired: so make sure to choose your attitude appropriately.

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