Everyone loves to laugh. That’s why you may be tempted to use humor in some of your business communications. You may want to start a speech with a joke, or break the ice at a meeting with a funny story. It seems like a good idea, but it may backfire. That’s because everyone does not find the same things funny.
Here’s the problem. You share a joke or humorous story and ...
• Half the group already heard it.
• Many attendees previously received it in e-mail.
• No one gets it.
• Someone in your group is offended.
• It gets groans instead of laughs.
• You find you are the only one laughing at it.
The upside of the telling is you get a laugh. The downside may be a steep fall that at best reflects poorly on your judgement. My advice? Stick with human interest stories. They’re a lot safer and everyone can identify with them.