How to Start a Meeting Using Satire as an Ice Breaker

Dull business meetings can be spiced up with humor.
Dull business meetings can be spiced up with humor. (Image: business colleagues preparing for business meeting image by Vladimir Melnik from

A sense of humor comes in handy in almost all types of situations. Business meetings can often be draining, uninteresting workplace obligations, and the coordinators of those meetings often struggle to retain the attention of participants. Office managers and politicians have long observed that the greatest speeches often begin with a self-deprecating or ice-breaking joke, so clever leaders can use this disarming approach in other presentation settings as well. Beginning a meeting with a bit of satire and wit will likely have a very positive effect on the remainder of the affair.

Construct the humorous ice-breaker around the content of your meeting's agenda. It would be distracting to bring up an unrelated concept during your warm-up phase, so keep listeners engaged in the subject at hand by relating your jokes to the items being discussed. This will also help to ensure that your coworkers pay attention to the more important discussions once the joke is over.

Acknowledge the awkwardness of the meeting, especially if it is a required but less-than-enthralling formality. Your listeners will appreciate your candor if you open with a comment about the meeting itself. This is a particularly good opportunity to introduce the element of satire. Open the meeting in an exaggerated, comically self-aware manner to let attendees know that you're in on the joke.

Make a connection between your comedy material and your peers in the workplace by referencing employee names in a harmless way, and making eye contact with other participants. Ensure that your jokes are clean and free of real insult or offensiveness, even if they are a bit ironic and subversive. You may choose to make fun of the company, rib your coworkers for their idiosyncrasies, or put yourself in the hot seat, but do so diplomatically, showing that you mean no disrespect.

Keep your jokes fresh so as not to incite groans in your audience. Stale, cheesy material is worse than no material at all, so make sure your ice-breakers are worthy of sharing. Practice with your mirror before the meeting if necessary. As long as your meeting's agenda items don't get lost in the mix, you should be able to keep the attendees on the edges of their seats once they feel you're comfortable and in command of the room.

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