No funny business? Humor skills for a digital, dispersed, and diverse age


Increasingly necessary in light of the rising rates of digital disruptions, computer-mediated communication, and employee diversity, soft skills–including but not limited to humor–separate humans from robots and are critical for successfully interacting with and even leading people with diverse backgrounds and interests. This interactive, interdisciplinary course will blend science and practice on workplace humor, including insights from comedians and developmental psychologists, scientists and practitioners/performers.

Given the broad applicability of the topic and course contents, researchers with various career aims (e.g., business/practice, academia) and from various backgrounds (e.g., business, economics, informatics, psychology, sociology, communication, MINT/STEM, etc.) can learn and benefit from the course.

This knowledge and the accompanying skills are meant to introduce researchers to cutting-edge science while also preparing them for a professional experience in the “new world of work”. To achieve these aims, participants will complete the following activities/assignments:
1. Self-Assessments: Participants will take evidence-based assessments to learn both their personal humor style for expressing humor as well as their appreciation of others’ humor.
2. Humor Training: Based on the lecturer’s theoretical presentation (which will also include applied examples) and participants’ self-assessments, students will brainstorm various jokes, puns, examples, comics, and stories to integrate into conversation, networking, presentations, etc.
3. Science Slam Presentation: Participants will apply their new knowledge and humor skill to their own personal research topic. A single PowerPoint slide is optional as a presentation aid. It is also not necessary to rhyme, as is often the case for the similarly named “Poetry Slams”. Expected duration should be 2-3 minutes.

Course objectives    

After successful participation, participants should be able to:
1. Describe humor theories, research, and professional applications
2. Apply humor in various work-related situations (e.g., presentations)
3. Appreciate humor as an effective and teachable technique


Jamie L. Gloor, PhD, Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter Business School (England) and a research fellow at the University of Zurich.

Interdisciplinary Team of Guest Lecturers:

Dr. Feena May, is CEO of The Inspiring Company, a leadership lecturer, and a silent comedian with a diploma in Clownology from the Moscow Circus School

Fabian Unteregger, MD, is a gifted parodist and Swiss comedian.

Target participants     PhD candidates of all disciplines
Dates     27 August 2020 9:00 - 17:30h
28 August 2020  9:00 - 17:30h
Canceling deadline     20 August 2020 23:59


Contact person     Eric Alms, Graduate Campus
ECTS credit     1 ECTS credit (has to be recognized by your faculty)