By | Papa CJ | Comedian • Executive Coach • Author • Oxford MBA • HBR Writer • papacj.com • WIT of the Week newsletter on LinkedIn, papacj.substack.com & papacj.medium.com • I uplift others & help them be the best version of themselves
Whether it is at work or play, having a good sense of humour is a valuable asset and everyone likes to be around someone who can make them laugh. Here are ten pro tips on how you can be that person.
- Know your audience. If they don’t like risqué jokes, don’t throw one in just because ‘a really nice one’ popped into your head. Unless of course awkward silence is the response you’re aiming for.
- Don’t force fit your joke. If what you have to say fits into the natural flow of the group’s conversation, sure, tell that story. Don’t just butt in because you want your moment in the spotlight. Attention seekers are viewed as &%$#s.
- Comedy is tragedy plus time. If you’re going to joke about a tragic incident for someone personally or the world at large, remember that there is such a thing as too soon. Make sure your audience is in the same headspace before you do that hilarious plane crash joke.
- Local and topical is funnier. A joke about recent events or something local and specific to the audience tends to be funnier. However topical jokes have a shorter life span and local content doesn’t always travel well. So maybe avoid doing that Punjabi joke about the Gurgaon taxi driver when you’re speaking to Tamil colleagues in Chennai.
- Be authentic. Your content and delivery should be in sync with your personality. If you’re trying to be someone you’re not just to impress an audience, they’ll see through it immediately and you’ll come across as someone desperately seeking approval. Don’t do that.
- Relatability is key. Your audience does not need to agree with your point of view but unless they get the context of the joke there is no chance they will get the punchline. Make sure you bridge that gap if there is one.
- Keep it snappy. In an age of limited attention spans, it’s good to have a few one-liners or short jokes in the bag. The rule is the longer your story, the funnier the ending needs to be.
- A magician always carries cards. Be armed with a couple of jokes or stories that you know are fantastic and that you tell really well. So that if the opportunity comes up, you’re locked and loaded and ready to fire.
- Always leave them wanting. Little and amazing is better than a lot and not that amazing. If you nail two jokes that score 10s, resist the urge to throw in those maybe jokes that will bring down your average. Let them invite you to the next party to hear those.
- Money can be very funny. If you have deep pockets and want someone else to do all the hard work while you reap the benefits, there is a brilliant and extremely modest comedian who’s available for hire. I believe his name is Papa CJ.