Humor can be utilized in many different situations and scenarios, but when it comes to professional settings or in the workplace, the rules and strategies for applying humor can vary. Using humor effectively requires a developed sense of both confidence and empathy to relate to others, enabling an individual to successfully manage and navigate everyday work relations and social dynamics. With these two pillars of confidence and empathy guiding your use of humor, you can empower both yourself and the people with whom you work.
In this course, you will analyze humor as applied specifically to the workplace, focusing on the social dynamics of your work peers, superiors, and subordinates. By utilizing these multiple lenses, you will strengthen your empathy and understanding of varying perspectives, gaining insight into how or why humor can help or hinder the attitudes of a team.
You will be required to purchase a copy of "How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor" by course author Mike Fontaine.
Key Course Takeaways
Utilize humor for empathy, allowing people to feel heard and justified
Use humor to deliver constructive criticism or to make requests
Done in a way that bolsters confidence or empowers
Redirect the dynamics of a professional setting or work environment with humor
Professor of Classics, Cornell College of Arts & Sciences
Mike Fontaine is Professor of Classics at Cornell University. Professor Fontaine has published many books on jokes, humor, and comedy in ancient Greece and Rome. His latest is titled How to Tell a Joke: An Ancient Guide to the Art of Humor. The timeless joke-telling strategies and techniques he’s culled from the ancient world have served him well in his years as Cornell’s acting Dean of Faculty, Associate Dean of Faculty, and Associate Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education.
Professor Fontaine teaches a range of courses about the ancient world, including Greek Mythology, Introduction to Ancient Rome, and Wine Culture. He lives in Ithaca with his wife and children and travels frequently.