Once upon a time, when George W. Bush was president of the US, I attended a business presentation about a product of which I even don’t remember the name or the functionality. What I do remember though was the presenter’s opening. Only a few weeks ago I wrote in my “begin the beginning” post that the first seconds of a presentation should intrigue, surprise or provoke. And this American speaker truly managed to hit all three targets…
In those days, there was a funny picture circulating the internet (social media were yet to be discovered by the big mass) with a canvas of photos showing President Bush juxtaposed to a series of chimpanzees that were mimicking the president’s facial expressions (or was it the other way around?).
As our speaker projected this (in)famous image as a visual to introduce himself, his company and his country of origin, it was no surprise that a few days later me and my colleagues got a “we sincerely apologize for this content” email in our inbox. Accompanied by a kind –but firm– request to dispose of the PowerPoint handout we were given at the end of the talk.
Here’s the moral of yet another true story: always be cautious with using humor in your presentations and try to be (literally and figuratively) politically correct. Keep in mind that ‘funny’ is not the same for everyone and that different people may appreciate your jokes differently (or even take them as an offence).