Business Skills

Improv and teambuilding is hardly innovative: traditional icebreakers that usually embarrass more than they break ice are usually based in some improv slash drinking game. Since the 90s are long gone, improv for teambuilding should go the way of over plucked brows and butterfly clips – out.

Improv can do so much more for businesses than break the ice. Here are five reasons businesses are turning to improv for professional development:

  1. Interpersonal Communication Skills

    Folks in the office not communicating as well as they should? Improv might be the cure: not only do you practice specific skills like active listening, responding and conversation, it fine tunes your personal style. You get to practice interactions and moments without repercussion: when in life do you get the possibility of a do over like you do in an improv workshop?

  2. Public Speaking, Presentation and Pitch

    Improv is heightened reality: everything exists at a higher state with higher stakes. What better way to practice the stressful act of public speaking and pitching than in with the playful activities of improv? Not only do you get to rehearse, which is more than most people do before they speak (we see you!) you’ll be able to find nuances that you never knew existed. Sure, you’re not going to pitch like you’re in a western, but what if practicing like you’re in a western helps you slow down when you are explaining something?

  3. Feedback – Giving and Getting

    Reflective practice is imperative to a healthy company culture. How do you help people feel comfortable giving feedback when they are nervous about giving feedback? Improv involves group and partner activities and giving feedback should be part of every activity. We like to do Glows and Grows: what are you doing well, and what needs work?

  4. Conflict Resolution and Customer Service

    Yes, And is the magic conflict resolution phrase. Affirm what the person who is upset is saying – YES, I hear that you’re unhappy, YES, that flight was very delayed, YES, those nacho fries were cold – and then add to the conversation – AND I want to help you, AND can I offer you a voucher, AND, here’s a free order. Most of the time someone is upset, they want to be heard and not argued with – and most of the time when someone is upset, we say the dreaded word BUT: a confrontation building conjunction.

  5. Confidence

    “Follow the Fear” is a BIG improv principle – greatness lives on the other side of fear! Improv builds confidence not only by embodying a “go for it” attitude, it helps you think about what risk ACTUALLY is – is making a mistake or looking foolish going to end your life and career? Probably not, so why not suck it up and just go for it? Most people are too afraid – you’ll immediately look, and feel more confident!

This post was originally published: https://www.conferencecalling.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-interruptions/

Giving a presentation can be nerve-wracking even to the most seasoned public speaker. When you’re already on edge, interruptions can be hard to handle.

We talked to more than a dozen people who give speeches or presentations regularly. This is how they recommend preventing interruptions during your next speech or how to deal with them if they do happen.

How to Prevent Interruptions in the First Place

Preparation is critical to giving a good speech. In the same way, it’s important to prepare your audience to hear it. These strategies will help your audience settle into listening mode and give you an air of authority.

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100 Women, 100 Hours

This post was originally published on BizGalz

Late last year I was about to present my company a sample curriculum at a national training session geared towards trainers. An acquaintance came up to me and said, “Oh, you look taller!” I laughed, knowing it wasn’t a height thing. In truthfulness, it was a confidence and owning my business thing. I told him as much – I went through a lot and was finally taking charge in my life, and it was showing all over the place.

And then his partner, a woman, laughed and said, “Oh, it’s her hair – and she’s an actress so she probably is wearing lifts in her shoes.” For some reason, that infuriated me – I was confident and that’s why I looked taller – I was carrying myself differently! I said this, and she scoffed again, and said, “Sure, Jen. Maybe it’s your outfit.”

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Ever been disrespected or disrespectful? This video is for you! Unless you are a sociopath or terrible human being, chances are the disrespect happened because of a lack of self-awareness. Check out this week’s video to learn more!

 

by Engager Jen Glantz

The truth is, none of us are ever fully prepared for anything that we do. We can spend hours, days, even months practicing for something and still feel as though we aren’t ready. One of the greatest lessons learned in improv is that all you need to do, sometimes, to succeed and have fun, is just simply show-up.

While I agree that is a daring and very bold first step, the real trick to making it through something we might be scared, at first, to do, starts way before we enter the room to give a presentation, to take an improv class, or to just have a sticky conversation with say our boss. It starts with the self-talk, or pep talk, we give ourselves beforehand.

I remember a few years ago, I was about to walk into a job interview and felt so nervous that I could feel my body tell me, through jitters and stress-sweat, that it wasn’t feeling confident about what was going to happen. So I let my mind listen to my body and all of a sudden I told myself that I wasn’t good enough for the job I was interviewing and the person interviewing me would notice that instantly. I practically stuck my resume in the trash and walked out at that point, but before I could make that motion, they called me to begin. I didn’t do well on that interview and I didn’t get the job. Looking back now, it wasn’t because I didn’t have enough work experience or knowledge, it was because I didn’t walk-the-walk, or talk-the-self talk beforehand.

This happens a lot. We show up to an Improv class, an interview, or just to a new experience that scares us more than anything else, and we talk ourselves out of it. Our body language adapts and before we know it, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

After that memorable (for not a good reason) job interview was over, I promised myself that before I did anything I wasn’t feeling confident about again, that I would trick myself into thinking that I was. That I would arrive early, find a quiet space where I could be alone, and positive pep-talk myself into believing, really and truly believing, that what I was about to experience was something I was worthy of and something I would enjoy.

I use this method every single time it’s my turn to start an Improv scene or even teach an Improv class. I hope you’ll try it too.

How to SHOW You Listen

by Founder Jen Oleniczak Brown

Man, listening is tough. When I set out to work on these videos, I shot them in one day, and immediately realized I had content for DAYS. In this installment, I’m focusing on one way to show you listen – and it isn’t immediately going into a personal story about the same topic (I’m looking at YOU, people that do this!)

Enjoy!

We’re back with another video tip – and this week, we’re starting a 4-part series on listening and conversation.

Check out how to start listening better. Hint: Stop thinking about dinner. =)

Hi all, Jen here!

I know we said we’d move to bi-weekly videos in the new year for me to focus on writing, and in reality, I also wanted to up our tech game/quality of the videos before we moved forward.

Guess what? I have a motivated drive (duh) and a fantastic husband (also duh) and between the two, I ended up upping the tech game AND setting up the new studio in no time.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing! I’ll keep at it here, on guest blogs, LinkedIn and a super secret cool announcement coming soon. For now, enjoy our new trailer AND video today. In our video, we’re thinking about how to introduce yourself – because let’s admit it, it’s a difficult task. Enjoy the trailer and tips on introductions, and remember to YES AND today!

-Jen

How to Introduce Yourself!

By Founder Jen Oleniczak Brown

Other applicants might lead you to believe…

I could do what other people will do when applying for this job…

Most companies want you to believe…

Some people asking for this scholarship would say…

Have you said or written one of these things in a job interview or maybe an application? Or even as an entrepreneur, have you brought out the faults of others while making the case for yourself?

STOP.

There is incredible value in knowing your competition. You should know who you are up against — what you shouldn’t do is passively insult them in efforts to uplift yourself. You waste valuable time that you could be using to talk about how amazing (re: different) you really are!

So what should you do?

1. Know your competition. If you are applying for a job, getting a new client, interviewing — think what the ‘norm’ is. Make a list.

2. Know how you are different. On that same list, where do you go against the grain? Again, list.

3. When you’re talking about you in an interview, talk about these differences. That’s what will get you hired.

4. If you have to bring them up, do it sparingly, complimentary and ONCE.

With The Engaging Educator, people think our competition includes places like Second City and UCB. We are not Second City or UCB. When I’m talking to clients, I acknowledge that we are a group of improv-educators, not improvisers. We don’t put on a show (and won’t), and places like UCB and Second City are fantastic if they are looking for professional development with an additional element of performance. We plan a curriculum and customize communication skills training — we just also happen to use interactive improv. See? Acknowledged in a complimentary manner and focused towards US.

In an interview, the other candidates are literally nameless individuals, so why draw attention to them?

Good luck! Get the job because of how awesome you are, not because you insulted them.

Want to uplift others? Check out our TEDx on Yes, Anding the Shine Theory.

Want to learn the magic at home?Pre-Order THINK ON YOUR FEET: Tips and Tricks to Improve Your Impromptu Communication Skills on the Job today!
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