Applying Improv Comedy Principles to Business

12/05/2011 00:44

Improv comedy is really a form of theater where the group of performers take takes place with nothing prepared beforehand and use audience tips to instantly create comedy. Perhaps you have seen the TV show, 'Whose Lines are It Anyway?' you've seen improv comedy. Improv is fast, funny, and sometimes ridiculous.


The first reaction many people have to hearing about improv comedy being is true of business is, 'Come on now, company is serious. How can improv comedy affect that?'

Well, the answer is fairly simple. The key to successful improv is the willingness to take risks, the perception of how to tap into your own creative resources, along with the ability to listen to and work well with other people. Show us a person in business that wouldn't make use of having the willingness to adopt risks, the ability to tap into their creativity, along with the skill to listen and team up.

An improviser must constantly take risks. The key risk is stepping on stage broke and alone prepared and trying to generate something entertaining. Without embracing this risk, the improviser does nothing. In a similar fashion, a person in today's work force must push forward and try new ideas and techniques. Without risk, there is absolutely no progress or innovation. Businesses that are looking to stay competitive require their people to keep pushing forward with new ideas. This may never be accomplished if folks are not willing to take risks.

Creativity is frequently misconstrued as 'artistry.' In improv, it is actually clear that the performer needs to be creative. An improviser needs to generate interesting ideas immediately, with out a moment's hesitation. While most artistic folks are creative, creativity is about far more than art. Creativity is simply the ability to create. It does not take ability to come up with something from nothing. It does not take ability to create new ideas. These new ideas may very well be solutions to problems, innovative products, or new strategies to handling clients. Simply because artists are creative doesn't imply that other people can't make use of creativity.

Unlike stand-up comedy, in which the performer is alone, improv requires cooperation between two or more players. When one performer ignores his partners and doesn't involve them whatsoever, he creates a disharmonious environment that tears in the group. The best improv develops when everyone is involved and there is a free flow of ideas which might be supported and built upon by everyone. This attitude is the heart of communication. Whether talking to a co-worker, client, friend, or loved one, the ability to openly and honestly focus on another person and incorporate their ideas is paramount to building strong relationships.

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The keys to effective improvisation are the same as the keys to success in about any other area of life. Promoted should not be that surprising though; life, after all, is the ultimate improvisation.