Humorous Content Is Risky.

Word is that laughter is the best medicine and humor is a great way to connect with people. However, and that word should probably be in capital letters, you need to know your audience and be selective in your delivery method.

I just flew in, and boy, are my arms tired!

Last century, speakers were instructed to start their presentations with a joke to warm up their audience and make sure they were tuned in. The theory was that if you could get the crowd to giggle or emit a gentle ha-ha, they would stay with you for the whole speech.

That only really worked if comedy was your business and your audience actually got the joke. More often, the joke would fail (even the pros hear crickets), the audience would roll their eyes (disconnect), and the speaker’s credibility would be damaged. Don’t let this happen to you!

You can use humor later in your speech when you relay a story about something relevant to your presentation. For example, you might mention a funny customer story or tell a tale about your own mishap. A humorous and memorable story will connect with your audience and make you seem more human and relatable.

DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT THE CONTENT WRITER?

Of course not; she’s still editing it.

The only folks who might get that joke are other writers. That’s considered an inside joke, humor that only people with a specific life experience would understand. If your audience isn’t part of that circle, the joke will fail, and you will lose the chance to connect with them.

That’s why humor is a double-edged sword. On the one side, it can make people relax and feel that you are the coolest person ever! On the other side if your humor fails, they will disconnect and think you are a dork.

Three ducks walk into a bar. Ouch!

That line was supposed to be humorous. As you read it, you may have giggled, groaned, or just shook your head. It may have tickled your funny bone, or it may have just annoyed you.

By adding a touch of humor in print, you lose the advantage of your voice, pacing, and body language to support it. Plus, you miss the context of the situation to know if humor is the appropriate tool to use in that instance.

I just had a miscommunication with my son, who actually shares my warped sense of humor. We were texting. What I thought was clever and funny, he thought, was uninformed. He works in the medical field and was having a rough day. He is very particular about terminology, and I had taken creative license to conjure up a new term. In our text exchange, he corrected my creation, and I defended my word choice by explaining it was supposed to be humor.

He wrote, “Oh.”

I replied, “Thanks! You just proved the point of the blog I’m writing. Mommy loves you!” (Yes, even though he is over 40, I still say that.)

Client communication and humor do not play well together.

You can write, text, or email your buds and use slang, silly emojis, and sarcasm as you discuss that captivating rug cleaning video or other things vital to your well-being. It’s different with a client. Stick to the facts, be concise, and be clear.

If you write, “Of course, I can meet your ridiculous deadline!” they may take you at your word. And your words are your bond… or they should be.

Websites can be light.

Your website can have humor if that is your brand. For example, I write for a living, and my nature and brand are lighthearted, so you’ll encounter wordplay on my site. Serious businesses, like funeral homes, financial services, or legal teams, speak to their clients with consolation and authority.  

Understand that the tone of your website should reflect who you are and who you want to connect with. Humor can be a great tool to capture your reader’s attention and create a connection if it fits with who you are and the solution you offer.

Are you a Fungi?

In your presentations, website pages, and promotional materials, you can let your personality shine and use quips, puns, and silly nudges to engage your audience if that suits you and your brand.

It all comes down to you. Whether in print, online, or in person, be true to yourself and your brand so that your clients and customers get to know, like, and trust you to provide the solution they need.

And, just so you know, no ducks were harmed in the creation of this blog. Ba-dump-dump.