And in continuing my blog about appropriate humor, remember that you should pay attention to when using humor is the industry climate. Be sensitive to jokes about what’s going on in the industry. For example, you may have heard that the meetings industry has taken a hit for having lavish meetings, so they are VERY concerned about their image. A few years ago you could joke about the lavishness of the meetings because it was funny. I used to joke about it by saying things like “I know your theme is XYZ (insert theme of meeting). You call it XYZ because you can’t get a tax write off by calling it the “drinking and golfing” convention. There’s not so much drinking and golfing going on right now, and even if there is, don’t go there as people will feel guilty about it. It’s very sensitive.
Also, be sensitive to the audience’s industry. I did a show for the staff of banking groups last year and I could joke a little about the mortgage crisis (“don’t we all miss the good ole days when you could get a loan by flashing your library card”). These were staff people, NOT bankers. If they were bankers, I wouldn’t have said that joke at all.So make sure you do a quick bit of research on the industry climate and do a quick check on what these people might really think is funny. . .before you write your funny.