Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Humor in Professional Writing

Using humor in professional writing can either make or break a report, as well as your reputation. Humor can help lighten an intense situation, but can also bring it back down. It is crucial to professional writers that they follow a few simple rules for writing humor. If humor is used correctly, it benefits the writer in many ways. Humor can establish a rapport with co-workers, and will make the information more memorable.
  • Be aware of your audience: Writers should be aware of their audience at all times, especially when using humor. Make sure the information pertains to the audience and the material of the report. Also, the level the audience is important, humor is bypassed if the audience does not understand it. Most of all, be careful not to offend any of your readers; a general rule for this is to make sure everyone can laugh at the joke!
  • Avoid sarcasms: Sarcasm can send your reader a message that you are not being serious, but negative rather, and negativity is most likely not your intended message.
  • Repetition: Believe it or not, it is effective to use one good joke throughout your project. However, just be careful that it does not get annoying, or throw your focus off topic; make sure it flows.
  • The safest joke is one about yourself: As long as the writer maintains credibility, it is safe to make a joke about yourself, this way everyone can laugh at you, and readers know that you have open sense of humor.

Adding humor to professional writing gives the writer a step up, as long as it is done correctly. Make sure the rules are applied during the writing ans presentation process and humor will benefit you and your audience.


Helitzer, Mel & Mark Shatz. (2008) "The Importance of Humor Writing".

Pagewise. (2002) "Humor is professional business writing".


  1. You explained it very good! Many can easily learn.

  2. I like your introduction and the layout of your blog post.

  3. I like this topic. I haven't thought much about using humor in professional writing, but you make several valid points of how, when, and why to use it. I thought it was very well thought out.

  4. This is a great topic! You also broke down the information so that everyone can easily understand the information.

  5. I really like your post. Humor can definitely be tricking when it comes to professional writing. Your tips on the proper way to use humor in a business setting are very helpful. I especially like your tip on avoiding sarcasm. Sarcasm does not always come across as intended, so it’s definitely better just to avoid it all together. Another tip you could have included in your blog is an example of a correct way to use humor and a wrong way. This would help readers to visualize how humor can be effective and how it can go terribly wrong. Overall, your post was very interesting. You are a great blogger!

  6. Refer to my email to the class on 11.11.09