Being able to improvise and spontaneously respond to a situation can be vital. In fact, if can be essential for survival!
My intention of joining Spanish improv classes was to learn a skill I can use for my professional life as a coach, model and actress: Forget about the theories, pre-planned ideas and concepts that you have in mind in order to be really present NOW and don’t just repeat yesterday’s stories that you have in petto. I also intended to face my fears: stage, public speaking, speaking in a foreign language in public without knowing what it will all be about….
Training to use your brain a different way
It has been a lot of fun to play games, laugh, fool around during warmups before class. It was also a huge challenge. We learned all kinds of “stupid” games that are not so stupid after all: they trained you to use our brain in a different way.
Improv has been reported to be a useful skill to learn for professionals who are mainly brainworkers, such as lawyers, managers, people sitting in front of a computer all day or figuring out how to sell more. Improv classes are a longterm investment in order to access your creative potential, expand your habitual thinking, overcome ideas and concepts of how we think things should be, to see how else they can be and we couldn’t even imagine that other scenario der to human box-thinking.
Improv also opens our ideas about ourselves, who we are, how we show up in the world and how we feel about ourselves and others. It is a bonding exercise, we are all different and all in the same boat. We accept each one for their uniqueness, don’t need to like or dislike traits. It’s all about playing together. THE ONLY way.
Improv improves listening skills. It is essential to understand what is going on. Even those who have a hard time to concentrate over a longer period of time what others say are naturally staying tuned, because otherwise they are lost. It’s like playing in an action movie without a script, or a metaphor for daily life: we train to be in this very moment, free from old concepts to allow the process to evolve.
A good improviser is quick on their feet, noting every detail that comes their way. They also have the whole group’s performance in mind and not just their own. You might think that quick thinking just means someone’s mind works at a fast pace, but it doesn’t. Improv trains your attention without you having to try hard: it is a playful approach. Uncomfortable at first, but soon, the team opens up and realizes the potential of this type of training: it is not about looking good. You can’t go wrong. There are a few basics, rules of the games and that’s it. It is not dangerous. It is just a game. A great way to learn new skills.
5 Benefits from Improv Training
Improv trains flexibility. Studies have shown that improvisation shuts down the part of the brain involved in self-censoring. Improv trains to not second-guess yourself and contribute ideas that might help to fix whatever “problem” you’re experiencing.
Trust and support Team-members
You don’t need to like other team-members. In improv you learn how to accept them as they are without judging and work with their contribution in a constructive way.
How liberating! Magical potential right there!
Listening Skills are trained at improv classes like nowhere else! Since no-one knows what will be the outcome of the whole thing, everybody is naturally super-present and attentive. You need to know what is going on right now, in order to respond. Listening skills help to be empathetic, direct projects in the right direction, allocate resources, detect possible burnout and handle problems before they happen.
Effective communication for better problem solving is a skill that you will train at improv. You learn to communicate your needs and ideas right there in the moment. The others can’t read your mind. You need to communicate in order for the show to go on. And you are part of it. Every contribution counts.
Non-judgement and respect to each and every member of the team is another bonus of improv training. Non-judgemental behaviour is a way of accepting people with whom we disagree. Get over prejudice and appreciate the uniqueness of someone you might have called an idiot before. Every member puts their unique spices in the soup and that’s what makes it deliciously successful. It is the contrast, conflicts, co-creating and managing the ups and downs of the journey together that makes improv a success. It’s not about one person looking good. It’s about everybody contributing and helping the groups to create the best they can together. Think WE. Just like in real life.
Imaging a start-up that uses improv tools. Or a rusty department in desperate need of innovation: if every team member had the guts and the safe environment to show up fearlessly and even what used to be called a failure is a contribution to figure out how we can improve together!
Improv training for employees is an energizing activity. Ideally, provided as an incentive, not an obligation for those who are interested in personal growth. Improv training is a chance to grow beyond personal limitations as a group. Humans are set up to be afraid of change. Improv helps us change our limiting setup constructively and playfully. Together.
Interested? Get in touch!