The host pokes a little fun at the participants. It’s part of an elaborate pattern, you might even say a ritual, in some ways intended to lighten the mood. Trouble is, those at the receiving end feel a little intimidated and may think twice about contributing to the gathering. The end result is the banter inhibits the process, because it’s more about showing who’s boss.
In another place, the raillery seems to warm the mood of the meeting and put people at ease.
So what’s the difference?
And is banter a harmful or a helpful tactic?
Taking the second question first, I’d say be very careful. Banter, and humor in general, is very culturally dependent, and even if that aspect is OK, those less sure of themselves feel they can’t keep up. If in doubt, leave it out.
If you choose the riskier path, here’s what I think makes the difference…
There’s jocularity that puffs people up a little and there’s jocularity that deflates a little.
The quality of the meeting will be related to the self-esteem in the room. That seems likely, don’t you think?
So here’s my takeaway…
Keep ego and self-esteem in mind.
If you decide a little banter suits the circumstance and the people, reflect on this: Does your repartee build them up a bit, or does it knock them down a bit?
If you want a great meeting, I’d go for building them up.
What’s your take on banter?