Practical help for creating humour in communications

Timothy ClaypoleThere’s lots of advice around about how humour can help improve your marketing and communications.

This post on Social Media Today shows how being funny can help with social media marketing, while this post by 3 Monkeys Communications explains how humour can help brands to engage with consumers.

This is useful stuff, but it’s one thing to know that humour is useful, and quite another to actually know how do it – be funny that is. How exactly do you go about composing your own jokes to spice up your communications activities?

It is hard to produce jokes, especially quickly, not to mention keep your humour fresh and original. To apply your humour to any subject matter as may be professionally required of you is tough.

Good quality, practical advice on this subject is pretty thin on the ground – which prompted me to write this post and to recommend a book which may provide such help.

After scanning the virtual book shelves, I picked up The Serious Guide to Joke Writing by Sally Holloway. It’s designed for anyone who needs to build formal joke writing skills into their professional skill set. I was impressed.

Holloway deconstructs some of the common approaches to writing jokes and wider approaches to crafting humour, such as word play, stream-of-consciousness and the surreal. She then shows you how to build your own funnies, following a few easy steps.

The real stand-out feature of this book is the author’s personal system for crafting jokes, which she calls ‘joke webs’. Essentially, this involves a system for ideas generation and association. The ideas are cross referenced in a formulaic manner to produce a foundation for humour, which can then be developed and fine-tuned.

Of course, I’m over simplifying as I’m short on space. But the principle certainly works, providing you have the patience and stamina required.

Overall, my view is that this book is a useful resource for communications professionals who want to explore how to develop their own joke writing and humour-building skills. However, there is no escaping the fact that a lot of hard work and discipline is still required if you wish to uncover that comedy gold.

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