I’ve learned that I can never predict what someone may take away from an applied improv session.
There’s an improv warm up exercise I learned a few years back called Yellow Ball.
Here’s how it works: The group stands in a circle. We begin to throw an imaginary yellow ball around the circle. When you throw the ball, you make eye contact, throw the imaginary ball, and say “yellow ball.” The person you’re throwing to, let’s you know they’ve “caught” the ball by saying “yellow ball. Thank you.”Then they throw the ball to someone else. And so it goes.
When the group gets this down, I’ll introduce more different colored balls into the game. It becomes an exercise in focus, maintaining relationship with the chaos of 6 balls being passed around, and making sure you’ve been heard/received, and more.
This is probably a 10 minute exercise in what’s likely a 2.5 hour applied improv session. I can’t tell you how many teams have adopted some version of Yellow Ball into their culture.
Some teams began putting “Yellow Ball” in the subject lines of emails that they wanted confirmation of receipt. Some teams would just call out “Yellow Ball!” If a meeting was getting too unfocused to bring back that level of attention.
There were other variations on those, but they all use the hook “Yellow ball!” to call in a deeper level of attention, relationship, and breath.
Cool stuff in there. And seeing as it’s improv, it’s also fun to play.
“Yellow Ball, thank you!”