Research shows that telling jokes at work can make you seem more confident and competent. Of course, it can be risky, too — you don’t know how your audience will react. Will they laugh? Will they be offended? Even if they laugh, will they really think the joke was funny? But you shouldn’t be afraid of a flop. In a study, participants who told a failed joke were not perceived more poorly than other participants, and telling a failed joke actually increased perceptions of the joke-teller’s confidence. But remember, the joke has to be appropriate. An inappropriate joke, even if it makes people laugh, doesn’t improve their perception of you. Worse, telling an offensive joke can do serious harm to you and your career.

Credit: HBR