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Do you have a 'good' sense of humour?

April 18, 2006

You could be trying to break the ice with a new client.

Or trying to impress a hot date. 

In both situations a good sense of humour could prove advantageous.

But how do you know whether your's is good enough? How do you build upon it?

We received a reader query on the subject for Get Ahead expert Nasha Fitter. Let's see what Nasha has to say.

I have heard having a good sense of humour often helps in breaking the ice. Also people remember you because of your wit and humour.
I think I don't have a very good sense of homour. Could you suggest how to build on this?  

-- Radha Karnik

This is a great question that is unfortunately difficult to answer. I can only give you my views on this topic, which may or may not be correct. I know that my sense of humour developed over time.

When I was younger I was not funny at all; now I can easily make people laugh. At the same time, sometimes I say things that I think are very funny but others do not. Improving wit and humour, I believe, is an ongoing process.   
Now, there are various forms of humour and everyone has their individual style. Overall, I believe being fluent in a language is very important for being witty or funny. The way we play around with words adds the "funny" tag to an otherwise normal sentence. 

Also, seeing irony is very important. I think humour is often the link between two unrelated things.
In my experience, laughing frequently and appreciating other people's jokes and wit is very important. Within this, finding humour in everyday normal situations is the key. 

I often notice what is going on around me and say funny things in my head and laugh to myself. That serves almost as practice for when I am in a group. I watch comedy shows and movies and I am sure that has some effect on helping me improve my sense of humour.

And last, having confidence that you ARE witty is important. There will always be someone wittier or funnier than you, which is fine. Just work on building your own style.   
Remember, if you are trying to be funny and witty in order to break the ice at a business function, be careful.

In those situations, humour has to be mild and politically correct. 

I am a chartered accountant. With the talk of the KPO boom I am curious to know how one can be a part of it. Can you suggest any course/training programme, which will be a doorway to the exciting times to come?

-- Vikram

The KPO boom is definitely exciting and it is great that you see the opportunities. The most important skill to possess in order to work in a KPO is domain specialisation. For example, you being a chartered accountant and you don't need training to work for a financial KPO (also called FPO -- Financial Process Outsourcing). 

Your written English skills and overall professionalism may be important -- but those skills can be learned through any communication course (does not need to be one focused on KPOs).  
As far as finding a KPO to work for, I would suggest you look up the newspaper and job sites. You can even tap placement agencies.  
Got a question for Nasha? Write to us!


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