I think that in many instances where women face gender-related tension from male colleagues a bit of tongue- in-cheek humour is never amiss. Men respect a woman who can give back to them as good as they get when it comes to banter. I am in the process of interviewing successful women in a variety of male-dominated fields and one marketing executive within a major global accountancy firm reported that a smile and a bit of humour has always helped her to diffuse potentially contentious situations. She explained that "charm doesn’t harm" which I thought was a great way to describe her approach.
Additionally, I often use humour during my coaching sessions which is really great for moving people on and getting people to question their assumptions – clients have sometimes told me that they are surprised that the “hard work” of career and confidence development can be so much fun. A few months ago, I blogged about Jill Edwards, a comedienne and trainer who helps people use humour in the workplace. At the time I couldn’t find contact details for her, but she recently got in touch with me to share her new website. If you are interested in how you could turn up your "charm offensive" through humour, visit her website at www.jill-edwards.co.uk