Sarcasm - a great way to appeal to your reader ...

... except it isn't.

Do you get my sarcasm? Impressed? Well, you shouldn't be.
Don't get me wrong. If you want to raise a smile, sarcasm can be really effective. But NOT with the written word. It rarely works. Believe me. I know. I've done it more often than I dare admit. I bet you have too.

As we're writing a merry little quip, we can hear our friendly tone of voice in our own head and it sounds fine. Who could possibly take offence?
But of course, how we hear our own words in our head can be so different from how our reader hears them.

If you've come a cropper through careless use of sarcasm, don't worry. You're in good company. Take the great Gary Lineker of Match Of The Day fame. Not long ago, following an apparently harmless tweet, the god of footie punditry found himself in hot water.

Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool coach had been in the news - he'd signed a contract extension. No surprise - he's been a massive success and he clearly loves the club and his job.

Lineker tweeted, 'I don't know what they see in him.'

That's quite funny ... because the idea that Klopp isn't up to the job is so ludicrous.

But ... plenty failed to get the joke and piled in to defend Klopp.

As it happens, Lineker wasn't the least bit fussed by the negative response from a handful of his Twitter followers.

But there's a lesson here.

Face-to-face, on Zoom, on the phone even - sarcasm needn't be a problem - your listener can see you, hear you or both. They recognise immediately that you're not being serious.

With the written word, things are different. It's not always easy to pick up the humour and people can easily take things the wrong way.

So go ahead - use humour in your communications.
But lay off the sarcasm. You might upset more people than you impress.


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Dec 27, 2023
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