A study by researchers at Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania found that being funny at work makes people think you’re more capable than you actually are. And the best part is, you don’t have to be that funny for it to work.
Telling a mildly amusing joke still has an effect, because it takes confidence just to tell it. And your co-workers subconsciously pick up on that.
The study had volunteers listen to people tell jokes, then rate how confident and capable each person was. Telling a funny joke that was appropriate for the workplace had the biggest effect. Because it made the person seem confident and smart.
If their joke bombed, it had a negative effect on how capable they seemed. But they still seemed more confident, just for telling it.
Making sure it’s “appropriate” for the workplace is huge though: if the joke makes people laugh, it might not hurt you. But if it’s offensive and it bombs, people will think you’re an idiot.