Men get all the laughs in the meetings, study claims

Men appear to have the last laugh in the boardroom, as a new study suggests that women have a bigger chance of being left with an awkward silence after telling a joke during a business meeting.

Females attempting humour come across as ‘contrived, defensive or just mean’ compared to their male counterparts, according to linguistic expert Dr Judith Baxter’s 18-month study into speech patterns.

Dr Baxter, a senior lecturer at Aston University in Birmingham, found that while 90 per cent of jokes made by businesses caused chuckles at corporate venues, 80 per cent made by females caused a silence.

That’s not to say females aren’t funny, she added – it’s just that females tend to use humour differently.

She explained why this happens, cited by “One type of humour women leaders do use more than men is self-deprecating humour. Women would rather laugh at themselves on the whole than laugh at others because it is the safe option.

“But self-deprecation doesn’t display authority. And although you are allowed to joke about yourself, others…may well feel uncomfortable laughing at their boss’s expense,” she added.

The solution may be to copy men, suggests Baxter – also cited by – by developing a running gag or engaging in some light banter with male/female colleagues.