This weekend I attended an Improv Workshop. Why? Because the few improv classes I attended before going to San Francisco improved my public speaking, interviewing and negotiating skills.
Sadly I didn’t have the chance to pursue improv in SF, but now I’m back in the UK I jumped at the chance of a whole weekend under the watchful eye, keen wit and sharp tongue of Jason Chin – one of the masters of long-form improv from iO (improv Olympics) in Chicago. His book, whilst an excellent read, does not capture the fun, laughter, pain and powerful learning points from the weekend. And with the other 15 participants on the course all improv instructors or long-term practitioners I arrived home, mind spinning, brain fried, but determined to do some more. Rather like dancing – a healthy addiction with only positive side effects.
Sadly, improv is not seen by most business people as anything more than an art form, a interesting past time, or a great night out. They miss the fundamental relevance to the world of work.
Every day we are thrust into situations where a knowledge of the simple principles of improv would massively raise a persons game; an interview, a promotion or redundancy conversation, a conflict over meeting room booking, getting an upgrade on the red-eye back from the US, the negotiation of a big deal, getting the salary raise you deserve.
In fact, before I left for SF I help coordinate a number of ideas from people from the Improv scene which went into a FREE e-book called Using Improv for Business.
It can be downloaded from here. Please feel free to distribute it widely.
Better still visit The Maydays and get yourself on a course.