Putting the Ha! In Aha!: Humor as a Tool for Effective Communication

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Speakers, trainers, and leaders are challenged with delivering important messages aimed at informing, persuading, and influencing audiences; audiences that are already overwhelmed with information, daunted by problems, or stuck in old patterns of attitudes and behaviors. Until recently, humor has been viewed as something that merely makes us feel good and distracts us from our daily drudgeries. Positive psychology offers empirical data that show that humor is a serious tool that creates connection between people, enhances charisma of communicators, engages attention, enhances memory, leverages people’s willingness to shift attitudes and behaviors, and increases the resilience of communicators and their audiences. Humor does all of this, not despite the fact that it is enjoyable, but in large part, because it is enjoyable. Most research has used pre-produced humor (cartoons, stories, and videos), showing that communicators need not be producers of humor themselves, but can leverage the power of pre-produced humor to engage and delight audiences. This capstone includes a business plan for the creation of humorous video vignettes that can be utilized by the author, as well as other communicators, to bring speeches and trainings to life and make a message shtick.


humor, communication, positive psychology, mindfulness, resilience


Humanities, Well-Being/Flourishing


Literature Review



Date Posted: 19 December 2014