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The Dicey Game of Using Humor

Photo Credit: Creative Commons – doug88888

Humor is risky – it’s often an “all or nothing”  roll of the dice.

I respect people who are funny and want to be like those people who have the power to make me laugh.

Regrettably, I’m the first to admit that I’m not naturally funny. Oh sure, I try to be – but my attempts are often strained and miss the mark.

Sometimes a failed joke to a single person gets a “courtesy chuckle” because the other person is kind and gracious.

However, that “graciousness” quickly dissipates in direct proportion to the size of the group your talking with.

Today at the SCORRE Conference we’ll be hearing from several communications experts about the appropriate use of humor in a presentation.

Below is an infographic I developed – based on the principles provided by the event organizers – that offers a quick snapshot of using humor in a presentation.

You can bet I’ll be paying close attention to the presentations today.

Question: Have you every told a joke or story to a group of people that bombed or one that made the group howl in laughter?

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  1. I’m not one to use humor much…I don’t really think of myself as a funny person. And, sometimes, people just don’t get what I think is funny, so I stay away from using it.

  2. I agree – all or nothing. I can’t pull it off in a presentation. I do humour well in writing, and I play a great one-off against a straight man. But I can’t make it work live on my own.

  3. I’m with you, Tor…
    Folks remember more of what that heard/did when it tickled their funny bone…

  4. My friends tell me I’m funny. I often wonder what they mean by that!

  5. In a case of daring to try something when we don’t know better, I did use some humor in a recent time on stage and got laughs. I’m now even more appreciative of that!

  6. Lisa Selow says:

    I loved this! I love using humor and I can’t not do it when I do speaking. I love that it’s acceptable today. Back in the day, they said to avoid it in some books, etc. :) Yay!

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