Microsoft has turned its problem-solving prowess towards solving that most vexing of engineering problems: How to be funny. Microsoft’s education competency guide to humor points out what we already know: That humor is appropriate at some times, but not at others. That “Misers, bad drivers, and absent-minded people” are considered near-universally humorous. That there are four levels of humor competence, and that whereas level 1 (“basic”) deployers of humor merely use humor in a generally positive way, level 3 (“advanced”) deployers of humor know “exactly when and where a joke or story will be effective” and level 4 (“expert”) deployers of humor “can see humor in almost everything.”
And there’s a lot more:
The humor guide is part of a broader series by Microsoft covering education competencies: “many of the attributes, behaviors, areas of knowledge, skills, and abilities required for successful job performance.” Some are straightforward enough business skills (time management) some are a little more abstract (managing vision and purpose). Oddly enough, humor does not appear on the many-spoked education competency wheel (warning: PDF), suggesting that this article is either a newer addition or a tongue-in-cheek joke on Microsoft’s part. We hope.
It certainly is … comprehensive. Among the suggestions made by the humor guide:
- Learn how to juggle, square-dance, shoot skeet, and even play video games.
- “[Use] humor as a uniting dynamic across a range of situations.”
- If you are interested in learning how to use humor and other professional techniques to create alarmingly good business presentations, you may want to read Tom Anton’s Wake ’Em Up: How to Use Humor and Other Professional Techniques to Create Alarmingly Good Business Presentations.
- Ask yourself, “Could I start my next meeting, presentation, or conversation by telling a funny story?”
- Misers and bad drivers, what’s with those guys?
Hopefully, no one at M’Soft is making hiring or payroll decisions based on whether you are a level one or level three Tense Situation Diffuser, but intentionally or not, there’s a good deal of humor to Microsoft’s humor guide.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]