Being overly serious is about the worst thing you can do if your ambition is to be taken seriously at work.
According to a new study by Crowne Plaza Hotel & Resorts, sense of humour is the number one trait for forming a good first impression with people.
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Two-thirds of British people who took part in the survey said being able to make, or indeed take, a joke made people warm to them. This was higher than appearance, which 50 per cent said had an impact, and intelligence, which was rated highly by 39 per cent.
Being confident and having a “solid handshake” also came high at 29 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively.
But before you dust off your knock-knock jokes, there's a caveat around how to make people laugh.
Behaviourist and researcher Jez Rose said: "What this tells us is that it’s not about trying to be funny or cracking jokes during your meeting; it’s about conveying a good sense of humour to create a connection.
"This can be done simply by having a cheery disposition and smiling. Sometimes these small things are overlooked in business meetings and yet make all the difference."
No link with intelligence
While being funny is often equated with being clever, it turns out there is little connection between the two.
A second report released today, published in the journal Evolutionary Biology, shows how humorous people are much more likely to be extroverted than intelligent, and are usually viewed that way by strangers that way, too.
Lead researcher Jeffrey Hall said: "The idea that humour is a signal of intelligence doesn't give humour its due credit. If you meet someone who you can laugh with, it might mean your future relationship is going to be fun and filled with good cheer."