Workplace blogs
Workplace blogs

Humor in Talks: Choose Substance Over Style

Choosing Substance Over Style

We’ve all been to presentations at meetings where it seemed the presenter was more concerned about style over substance. As Yale professor Edward tuft noted, “It seems the fancier the presentation, the less the content.” We need to keep in mind that whether it comes to using PowerPoint, humor, or telling a story – what matters first is the strength of the ideas being presented. Using humor or technology is simply the means of delivering those ideas. So it isn’t a choice between humor and content, but rather a choice for delivering your ideas with some humor. Focusing on the style of the pitch rather than the ideas can also lead to less open and real dialogue about the merits of an idea. When people deliver their talk with too much reliance on PowerPoint, for example, idea pitches often result in the speaker dominating a meeting, with little opportunity for real debate. If you want more energizing, inspiring and creative meetings focus on substance over format and style. Don’t be afraid to be a little messy. Use PowerPoint sparingly. Use thought-provoking questions to drive the discussion. And use humor to keep the meeting loose and create a psychologically safe space for people to truly participate in a real conversation focused on ideas. =====================================================================

Mike’s Fun at Work Tip

Here’s a simple idea: “Fishbowl Fridays.”  Draw an employee’s business card from a fishbowl each Friday morning for the chance to either win a small prize OR to get released from your own fishbowl an hour early. (Or, heck, give them an actual fish!)


Quote of the Week

“What I want to do is to make people laugh so that they’ll take things seriously.” William K. Zinsser


It’s a Wacky, Wacky World

Winners of this year’s oddest book title contest include:

“Crocheting Adventures with Hyperbolic Planes,” “What Kind of Bean

Is the Chihuahua?”, and “Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter.” I can’t

wait until these are made into movies!


Copyright Michael Kerr, 2010

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