Jokes, quotes and one liners

Being funny has a plethora of workplace applications. Opportunities abound and can also be created. A bit of forethought and then some practice will make your comic attempts victorious. Comic humour is best served in small doses. The best stand–up will leave them wanting more.

A joke can help you

  • Communicate better
  • Build camaraderie
  • Break tension.

A funny quote from someone famous can add both gravitas and levity to any occasion.

Pick a joke, not just any joke...

You don’t have to memorise Bob Monkhouse’s encyclopaedia; you just need to have a few jokes up your sleeve – a couple of one-liners that will give any situation a humour perspective or provide you with a quick comeback.

Mould your funny offering to suit the situation. A good joke or one-liner will meet three criteria:

  1. It is funny to you – it will be comfortable to tell, perhaps using straight narration or acting out or using voices...
  2. It is funny to your audience – so you should know their demographic and tastes.
  3. It fulfils your objective – whether that be to make a learning point or win a popularity contest.

The subject matter and the characters are often changeable. It is quite possible that a presentation on change could use the same opening joke as a discussion on creativity.

A joke will usually have a ‘victim’. Make sure it is a small ‘v’ victim – that the kidding or teasing will be well received. Decide if you want that victim to be you, or a specific group or person, or perhaps more generic, such as a profession.

The richest laugh is at no one’s expense.

Jean Houston

Choose jokes that are about universal subjects, such as being late, speeding tickets or flat tyres.

Keep a joke file. The following is a limited offering, chosen for the way in which they can easily be transferred to workplace situations. Some work best as written correspondences; others are for use in PowerPoint presentations, and some are great to tell around the water cooler.

Jokes are everywhere. Watch, listen, learn... then make a couple of jokes of your own.