Using Humor and Storytelling to Connect People and Boost Accountability

By bringing humor and storytelling into corporate training you can create a learning experience that is engaging, memorable, and leads to higher retention, recall, and behavior change.

Laughter Fosters Closeness

The research on laughter suggests that sharing a good guffaw is an effective way to bring people together, strengthen relationships and, thereby, become more productive. Laughter is a sign of empathy and signals that we understand how the other person is thinking and feeling. Remember the last time you were confused about something on a conference call?  Were you laughing? Probably not.

Storytelling Inspires Behavior Change

Like laughter, storytelling also builds emotional connections and helps ideas resonate with people in a more meaningful way. A study by the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies (adding “neuro” to any word makes it super legit) found that character-driven stories consistently cause oxytocin, a neurotransmitter and hormone that plays a role in social bonding, to synthesize. And get this: the amount of oxytocin released by the brain predicted how much people were willing to help others. In other words, a compelling narrative about how to help a co-worker being harassed arouses empathy and is more likely to motivate your audience into doing the right thing than a slide deck full of clip art would.  

"Human beings learn best by story, by narratives, by characters that they can empathize with. This is all essential to how humans decide to do something or not do something.” Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation

Funny + Stories = Better Compliance Training

When it comes to the serious business of compliance training, content often focuses on rules and regulations. It’s an important check-the-box step that helps keep employees and companies out of legal trouble.

For real behavior change to occur; however, a culture of compliance is needed. To achieve this, organizations need to communicate and reinforce values and standards.

Compliance training programs that use humor, memorable characters, and relatable stories get people laughing, understanding, and internalizing these values and standards more effectively. Companies such as Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Lennox International have successfully used humor and storytelling in their E&C training to connect with employees on a personal and emotional level.

“We want our employees to want to watch our training. Humor is a great way to engage an audience and break down their defenses so they’ll be open to receiving messages.” Betty Ungerman, deputy general counsel and chief ethics and compliance officer at Lennox International

Listen to Kelly Leonard as he sits down with the Compliance Evangelist™ Tom Fox and shares his insights on using laughter and storytelling to effectively speak to people and have them pay attention.

Schedule a demo to learn more about our library of ethics and compliance videos that uses humor and storytelling to tackle organizations' most difficult and important conversations.

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