In the countless business meetings I've attended, I've observed meeting leaders use self-deprecating humor to diametrically opposing results: making me feel awkward and lacking confidence in their leadership, or feeling comforted and confident.

During my own leadership growth, I find myself giving firm and conclusive advice to myself that oscillates between these two: Don't use self-deprecating humor. Establish and portray confidence. Digging into yourself communicates that you're not even confident in what you're saying yourself, so why would anyone else be?

The next day: Take advantage of your sense of humor. This is a huge edge to have. Taking a dig at yourself when the timing and degree is appropriate disarms intimidation and cuts through tension.

The better version of this is probably not that either is universally the better advice. Rather, like anything, it needs to be calibrated. I don't have a golden rule for this, at least not yet, but I do have some guard rails: