Yea, what IS it?
Let’s start with improv. What’s this thing called “improv?”
At its core, improv is a communication skill-set. It’s a skill-set that allows improvisers to walk on stage, and with NO pre-planning, create seamlessly and fluidly a story, song, play, or whatever, in-the-moment. And not alone. They co-create this with another person. Creating seamlessly and fluidly in-the-moment with another person. That’s improv. It may be funny or serious, but it’s co-created with no planning.
How do they do this? They listen. They stay open and connected. They build on whatever shows up in order to move the scene/story/song forward.
In order to do this, we practice certain skills. These are the principles or tenets of improv. Here are some of them:
~Listen in order to receive
~Build on what you receive
~Make your partner look brilliant
~Stay open and present.
~Remember to close your mouth (see #1)
We improvisers practice this. A lot. And over time it changes who we are. Not just what we do on stage, but who we are. We begin to see more opportunities and not problems. We become more inclusive and connective. We know that there’s a “yes” that wants to be found.
And what is this “applied” business?
The “applied” part of Applied Improv is where we take these skills and apply them to other areas. Like business. We apply these skills to increase creativity. Or give more compelling presentations. Or lead in a manner that colleagues and reports feel valued, competent, and included. Or create a culture of equality. Lots of applications.
We begin with participants doing a bunch of improv exercises followed by focused debriefs. This is where they practice these valuable skills in the “disposable” world of improv. And like I said, it begins to change who they are.
Then, through scenarios and role plays, we ground the new skills in the relevant area—meetings, or giving feedback, or presenting.
So the “coolness” is two-fold.
It’s really fun.
Because it’s so experiential, it actually sticks and works!
Try it. You’ll like it.