Joni Daniels

Are They Laughing?

When you work in business where communication is an essential part of someone’s success, it is hard not to watch the political candidates with a magnifying glass. We seek out what is working and what is not working, and then connect the dots for clients to back-on-the-job application. The goal is always to capture the attention of your listener. If you can’t find a way to keep your message interesting, people will tune you out.

The use of humor is especially tricky. Humor can unlock an audience’s receptivity. It grabs people’s attention. Touching the heart, the funny bone and the brain improves the likelihood that your message will be more effectively delivered.

But if you have to point out that you were ‘just kidding” or ‘being sarcastic’ – then your joke has missed the mark. Some things about using humor that are important:

Jokes vs. Stories
Leave jokes to professional comedians. Humor at work that is on target and works possess the message of the communicator.

Ask yourself:

Humor to Avoid
Sarcastic Humor – Humor that brings laughter at the expense of others. This kind of humor can keep people apart rather than bringing them together. Sarcasm can work with close friends equally adept at its use, but it can be dangerous. Sarcastic conversations between friends where there are years of friendship gives a context of trust and caring to the “not so caring” messages. On the job, however, such comments are not appropriate. And the people who overhear sarcasm don’t know the intentions involved.

Ethnic Humor – Bias is too easy to ignite and too difficult to stop. Steer clear.

Laughing at Others – It’s more appropriate to laugh at yourself or at a common experience than to laugh at others. When humor works you laugh WITH others, not AT them.


It’s been said the ‘laugh and the world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone.’ But if your humor falls flat, or worse, annoys or insults, then you could be laughing alone too.