L is for laughing
Why is humour important in content?
We all like a laugh. It makes us feel happier, reduces stress and helps build relationships. If you can make your reader giggle – or at least smile – that’s no bad thing.
Here’s how to add humour to your writing.
There are good reasons for doing so. A clever anecdote or a witty analogy can give your writing life, bring some humanity and break the ice.
Science is in favour of humour, too. Research by Ronald A. Berk, Professor Emeritus of Biostatistics at The Johns Hopkins University found that laughter increases motivation to focus on the material.
So, your reader will be more inclined to carry on reading and to remember what you were saying afterwards. The power of humour in advertising is well known.
When Stanford University added Humour: Serious Business to its schedule of courses in 2017, lecturer Naomi Badgonas described humour as “an underleveraged superpower in business”.
Make sure it’s not all fun and games though. Humour should be used where appropriate – context matters – and in moderation. Don’t labour the point.
A few wry smiles will do the trick, don’t deliver a full stand-up routine. You risk looking unprofessional and obscuring the more serious points you might be making.
Avoid too many jokes in headlines, too. SEO robots have a notoriously bad sense of humour.
It goes without saying that so-called jokes that are in bad taste, cruel or offensive have no place. And make sure what you find amusing will work for your audience, too. Bad jokes are worse than no jokes. As Oscar Wilde said: “Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship and it is far the best ending for one.”
Remember, you want the reader to laugh with you, not at you. That would be no laughing matter.