December 05, 2006

I've Moved

Hey there. I've moved to a new blog site. To read more of this witty banter, please visit the new blog site of White Paper Pundit.

December 04, 2006

Save Your Humor for the Christmas Party

Is a there a role for humor in a business white paper? Some might argue yes. I'm not one of them. Well renowned blogger Seth Godin likes to think so. In one white paper he authored on customer service that was sponsored by Avaya Corporation, Seth begins the piece like a standup comedian with the proverbial joke about a guy in a bar. The paper goes on to to make a bad analogy between the customer in the bar and customer service in the business environment. While the use of humor in a white paper has good intentions, and is an attempt a taking a different tact amid a sea of sameness, the use of the technique rarely comes off benefiting a white paper towards its intended goal. Namely, convincing a decision-maker to the viability of the solution provider. Business executives read white papers to get serious business decision-making information, and your credibility (whether as a sponsoring company or an author) has a lot to do with projecting that perceived seriousness. When you attempt to apply humor to a white paper, you are saying to your reader that you don't take the subject as seriously as the they do. This degrades your credibility, and as a result, limits the impact of the white paper. Put yourself in your customer's shoes for a second. If you were going to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a business solution, would you take a prospective vendor seriously if they used humor in their white papers? I certainly wouldn't. I dare say that many business executives wouldn't either. So while humor is great for your upcoming Christmas party, don't take the lampshade to your office when writing a white paper if you want that paper to generate serious results for your client or your business. Do you think humor plays a role in business communications such as white papers?