A funny thing happened on my way to work today…I read an article that suggested that using humour in corporate messages can be a positive thing to do.

While most communicators steer well clear of using humour in the office, and I have certainly advised many leaders and clients to use it with caution, particuarly in multi-cultural environments, Barb Sawyer of Sticky Communications has other ideas.

She put forward the case for using humour in the workplace stating that it can reduce stress, increase energy, motivate and makes people feel better about themselves and others.

While she agrees humour should be used with caution and offers the following tips to doing so successfully:

1. Know your audience and what they will relate to

2. Tell stories

3. Be yourself, develop your own brand of humour

However, I would argue that these three tips are not just good for using humour, but for successful communications in general.

Knowing your audience is the only useful starting point for any campaign and storytelling is well known for its ability to engage audiences and make messages memorable.

However, developing your own communication style, while it is something I have long advocated, is not something that you hear about too often. I think it’s particularly important in leadership communications as it helps to create a relationship with your audience and demonstrates that messages are  coming direct from the source, making messages more credible.

…so I guess the message within the message is that if you always know what you are communicating and to whom, then you should also be able to determine if humour is appropriate for your message and audience, and what ‘gags’ will go down best.