Humor in Speeches: Another Double Standard

Harvard Business Review: Men who make jokes in speeches are seen as leaders. Women who make the same jokes are viewed as less capable.

The Harvard Business Review reports that audiences admire male speakers who make jokes, but find women wags wanting.

“We find that when men add humor to a business presentation, observers view them as having higher levels of status within the organization, and give them higher performance ratings and leadership capability assessments compared to when they do not include humor,” according to HBR.

However, when women add the same humor to the same presentation, people view them as having lower levels of status, rate their performance as lower, and consider them less capable as leaders.”

Which is pretty exciting, because the keynote speaker at the 2019 PSA World Conference is a woman comic, speaking about “How Women Own the Room: The Difference Gender Makes to a Speech—and to Speechwriting.” —DM

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