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Texas ISD School Guide
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Jokes Are Better In Context
By:Julie Hopkins

Have you ever attempted to give some kind of a joke, for example at the beginning of a presentation, only to have it fall on what seems like terribly deaf ears? You are not alone. Depending on the context or the particular audience to which the humor is directed, very different results can occur.

Suppose you are in a very stuffy business meeting with very formal attire and a strict adherence to the protocol of the day. In this instance, you would be shooting yourself in the foot if you were to attempt any kind of low-brow or slapstick jokes of any kind. It simply will not work because of the fact that everyone in the audience is already in a very tense frame of mind and nobody will want to seem unprofessional by laughing or encouraging the joke teller.

On the other hand, letís assume you are giving a talk to members of a kindergarten class. Would this be the appropriate time to try out some of your most sophisticated, dry humor? Of course not. Instead try to relate to the children with some jokes about toys, food, or parents. That will have those little kids rolling on the ground laughing in no time flat. And youíll get a superb ego boost as well.

What about in the middle of the spectrum? Balance is the key. Donít forget to judge for yourself whether or not your particular audience is right for lower or higher kinds of jokes and comedy.

Julie Hopkins

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