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:
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?
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?
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?
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.
“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!