Published on January 11, 2023

“Humor is the shortest road from one person to another.” – Georges Wolinski

Humor is a complex phenomenon that is difficult to define and is different for everyone, and the origins of humor are still a topic of debate among researchers. Some theories suggest that humor is a way for people to make sense of their experiences and to cope with difficult or stressful situations, while others believe that it is a way for people to bond and connect with others.

In today’s world, cybersecurity is no laughing matter. With high-profile data breaches making headlines on an almost daily basis, it’s easy to understand why professionals in this field take their work so seriously. But what if adding a little bit of humor to the mix could actually make their job better? That’s right—in the world of cybersecurity and compliance.

Humor: A foreign element in the cybersecurity world

Professionals in cybersecurity and compliance frequently believe that since these issues have severe repercussions, they should be discussed in a serious manner. When it comes to employee engagement, communication, and training, this traditional mindset really puts the company in danger. Why? Because employees are not paying attention or learning.

Anything fascinating and enjoyable tends to get scrubbed out of most corporate training and communications. This is the unintended result of a process that goes to great lengths to avoid offending anyone and to make sure that all levels of the organization can understand the communication. The best way to encourage employees to listen is simply through truth-based entertainment. It’s an excellent approach to reflect reality. It demonstrates empathy and also helps establish trust.

But also, keep in mind that a conversation about a difficult subject is not the same as having a difficult conversation. Separating the content of the message from the method of delivery is totally acceptable and, quite simply, more effective.

Why will humor work in this context?

First, it is important to understand that humor can be a powerful motivator. When people are engaged and entertained, they are more likely to pay attention and retain information. In the context of cybersecurity, this means that humorous training materials and awareness campaigns are more likely to be effective in helping people understand the importance of security and how to protect themselves and their organizations.

Additionally, humor can help to reduce anxiety and stress, which are common reactions to the constantly evolving threat landscape. By using humor to lighten the mood, security professionals can help to make the topic more approachable and less intimidating. This can be particularly important when working with non-technical stakeholders, who may not have a deep understanding of cybersecurity but still need to be aware of the risks and how to mitigate them.

With the usual voice-over and poor stock images, employees are likely to forget the majority of your presentation or e-learning module. On the other hand, a catchy tune or an amusing video, which you could try to incorporate in the training, will stick in their minds. They’ll remember it. The most effective educational practices combine emotional and cognitive learning strategies. So, let’s remember to mix in some honey while giving the medication.

Think creative, be thoughtful, and crack a smile

It’s critical to think thoroughly about the forms and styles used to engage employees, but don’t get carried away crafting the perfect thing. Creating a multicultural, multigenerational, and diverse workforce cannot be done all at once. Some methods will be more effective than others, and it is critical to experiment with new things. The best way to engage most people over time is through diversity and surprise.

Of course, not all humor is appropriate or effective in the context of cybersecurity. Jokes that belittle the seriousness of the threats or that make fun of victims can be harmful and counterproductive. Instead, the best humor in cybersecurity is respectful, informative, and empowering. It can help to educate people about the risks and how to protect themselves while also providing a much-needed sense of levity and fun.

In conclusion, humor is an important tool in the fight against cyberthreats. By using humor in cybersecurity training and awareness materials, security professionals can help to engage and educate people while also reducing anxiety and stress. As the threat landscape continues to evolve, humor can play a crucial role in helping people stay safe and secure online.

Naveena Srinivas

Naveena Srinivas

Enterprise Analyst, ManageEngine

Naveena Srinivas is an Enterprise Analyst at ManageEngine. With her evolving understanding of the technology world, she focuses her exploration on cybersecurity and data privacy. She also believes people can strike a delicate balance between the evolution of technology and humanity.

Naveena aims to analyze the other side of the established narrative on trending technologies. As a part of her role, she keeps herself updated with the latest happenings in the IT industry. She has also co-authored a fiction novella and contributed to multiple anthologies.

With an engineering degree and her experience in both B2B and B2C startups, she has gained knowledge in the field of healthcare, academia, and marketing.

 Learn more about Naveena Srinivas

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