The theatrical form where dialogue and action are made up on the spot has become really trendy for those who work in offices and board rooms rather than on stage.
I started Improv in 2014 in Mallorca out of curiosity. My goal: transform fear of the unknown into creativity and deal with whatever comes up with ease and grace.
During 3 years I practiced Improv in a foreign language (Spanish). I used to understand approximately 70-80% of what was said, just like in real life – assuming that 20-30% of a conversation is at risk to be misunderstood due to personal interpretations.
What I learned was far more than creating a funny play on the spot. I now use Improv exercises for Business Trainings and Private Groups to enhance communication, leadership and team development. It is not only a lot of fun, but a highly efficient tool for a better cooperation in everyday’s life:
1. You learn to own your power.
In improvisation, you learn to be who you are, to be bold, to challenge conventions, and to question the rules. When you understand what you have to offer and know how to bring it forward, you own your power. You know your purpose and you can act in a way that’s deliberate, focused and grounded in your values.
2. You learn to embrace your fear.
Fear is an undeniable element of improv, especially when it’s done in front of an audience. What if you flub a scene, or freeze up, or can’t keep up with the group? You have to learn to use those fears to fuel your performance, knowing that everyone gets it wrong sometimes. And it’s the same in leadership and business. Failure is part of every human enterprise and endeavor. Learning to embrace your fears helps you overcome them and learn to treat them as a conduit for greatness.
3. You develop better listening skills.
Improv is all about listening. In fact, listening is a key skill for all actors, allowing them to work off each other. In today’s busy world it can be hard to shut out the noise and be aware of the present moment, whether you’re in the workplace or on stage. Listening skills help you silence the noise of your own thoughts so you can hear and be present with another–and improvisation helps you build those skills in a creative and innovative way.
4. You learn the value of collaboration.
Both acting and business require collaborative skills. In both fields a well-rounded team is composed of people with differing abilities, personalities and life experiences, working together and having each other’s respect and attention. Understanding each member’s strengths and weaknesses is crucial when it comes to keeping your team effective and happy.
5. You learn to adapt and be agile.
Improv requires flexibility and agility–when something isn’t working, the actors often have to change things up on the fly. In acting, you learn that change is just another part of the process of getting it right. In business, implementing even positive change can be challenging. But when leaders know how to communicate they know how to address their people in a way that empowers and includes them, bringing them along and making them feel they are part of something bigger than themselves.
6. You learn to build a great ensemble troupe.
A great ensemble is key to successful improvisation. And the same, of course, is true for business and leadership. On stage, each team member has a part to play and a role to execute. If you can make each person on your team feel important and purposeful, you’ll have a team with nothing but stars.
7. You learn the importance of creativity and discovery.
Improvisation is about discovery and creativity on stage, and the best teams in every field are equally fueled by discovery and creativity (along with hard work). Team discoveries create innovation and strengthened brands.
8. You learn to lead–and to follow.
Why Improv can make you a happier person
Here is my personal pick:
1. Self-Development with a lot of Fun
You can face and overcome personal issues playfully and have a great laugh!
Shyness, loudness, too much (or too little) thinking, assumptions, hidden fears or anger, control issues, lack of self-esteem or too much of it, better understanding etc., etc..
It is about creating something great together, not about looking good or looking better. Everyone has a uniqueness and that is exactly what we need. You start thinking WE.
3. Being present
Lots of improv games are sooo funny and “healthy for heart and mind”. They bring you right into here and now. You can let go of expectations and prejudice and learn to really be here now, not just assume you know what is next and precalculate how you would deal with the situation. That is probably the biggest advantage!!!
4. No more excuses
You study and play with manipulation tricks, emotional “colors”, status games and more. Once you know what you know, you are aware of what is going on in everyday’s life. That makes you free to respond to a situation – take it, change it or leave it. Definitely communicate fearlessly and clearly!
You become response-able. And free.
You learn that you are free to choose in every situation. It is not about being right or wrong but to reach for a goal that is bigger than a personal advantage. And it FEELS GOOD!
Read the full article on Inc.com here!