I chaired our local Toastmasters‘ meeting today. That’s always fun. So much to learn from attempting to get so many details together. We were doing this as a demo meeting in conjunction with an employee work-life program to promote both Toastmasters and their humor month. So the topic, appropriately enough, was humor.We had a lot of funny things and speeches occur. It may just be my outlook on life, but I seem to think a lot of things are funny. We had one particularly well-polished speech that’s main humor element utilized a well-known American entertainment icon (both the person and the particular element of humor). It was well done and still very funny, even though it was clearly pilifered content. At least, we thought it was well-known.I noted later that we had several international attendees who were not aware of the source of the content, and while they still were able to piece the humor together and laughed and enjoyed it heartily, the fact that they missed the parody element of it definitely was a loss in the transmission of the message. It served as another reminder to me the care that must be exercised whenever your message crosses cultural boundaries. It’s true for any content, but especially for humor.
Make sure that an entire audience “gets” it when using what is assumed to be common knowledge.