Tips for Using Comedy in Events

Laughter has the ability to bring people together and to make everyday moments memorable. As such, it is well-suited to corporate events, where your job is to connect with your audience and administer important information in a relatively short amount of time. Following are some of the most important things to consider when using comedy in events.

Know Your Audience

Humor is highly subjective. What’s funny to one group may not be funny to another. Here are some things to consider about your audience:

  • Age – Humor can vary by age, and what works for a crowd composed primarily of baby boomers might not work for a crowd composed of younger professionals.
  • Industry – What’s funny can vary by industry as well. Industry also provides an opportunity to create humor specific to your field.
  • Cultural background – An international audience may not find some forms of American humor accessible. If your audience is largely international, humor must be approached with special caution.

Test the Crowd

If you’re planning to use humor throughout a speech, it helps to test the crowd as you go along. If your comedy is falling flat, you can alter course and stick to a more serious tone, or you can play up the jokes if they are well received. Comedy is often spontaneous, and you should be prepared to change course if necessary.

Use Humor That Builds Others Up

Humor with a sharp edge has its place, but that place isn’t usually a corporate event. Although poking fun at someone, especially at yourself, might work in some instances, humor that runs the risk of appearing mean spirited must be avoided. Similarly, jokes with content that is inappropriate for the workplace are also inappropriate for a corporate event.

Hire Outside Talent

If you want comedy to play a major role in your upcoming corporate event, it may be prudent to hire a professional comedian or improv group. A polished and memorable professional comedy show takes the pressure of joke writing away from you. There are some firms that specialize in comedy for corporate events, which can help guarantee that the comedy is appropriate for the context.

If you choose to hire a professional comedian for your corporate event, be sure to carefully consider what type of work they he or she done in the past. If possible, watch a video, or get references. Although the comedian’s routine should be individualized for your event, doing your homework can give you an idea of what type of comedy you can expect.

Consider the Context

Not every corporate event will benefit from comedy. Context is everything. Although some events shine with laughter peppered throughout, the context may make comedy inappropriate. If your event is designed to address a huge industry problem, then comedy may be unwelcome or in bad taste.

When used prudently and thoughtfully, comedy can give a substantial boost to an event, though.

How do you use comedy at your corporate events?

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing bduffy@onesmoothstone.com

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