This is a guest post by our colleague Elizabeth Beasley:
Elizabeth Beasley is the Chief Networking Office for DuMore Improv. She worked for Turner Broadcasting for 13 years and now teaches corporate and non-profit teams how to increase their emotional intelligence and become more savvy communicators by adding improvisation skills to their business toolkit. DuMore improv has consulted with companies like Career Builder, Georgia Power, The Junior League of Atlanta, Harvard Business School and Hyatt Regency. Learn more about improv training, email Elizabeth.
Have you ever wished that change was easier? That you handled awkward situations a little bit better? Or that you had the magic formula for taking your business to the next level? DuMore Improv will let you in on a little secret…it’s easy! Simply follow these 3 rules for using improvisation skills to grow your business and tell a great story.
1. MAKE GOOD OFFERS
On stage a good offer is a “gift” that you give your scene partner. It’s a statement full of rich information that’s easy to respond to and build a story upon. In the business world a good offer can be as simple as talking about your company to someone at a networking event or taking a chance on a new client you’ve never worked with before.
2. SAY “YES, AND”
This is the most important rule of improvisation – saying “yes, and” to offers and opportunities that come your way. Avoid denying the situation you are in. Instead accept it for what it is and add to it! Here’s an example. Let’s say you meet a guy at an event who works in a field unrelated to yours – like unicorn training. Instead of saying “Um, I don’t think unicorns are real” say “YES, I’ve heard that unicorns are getting popular again AND I’d like to learn more about your programs.” See, you’ve just accepted his offer and added to it by wanting more information. The goal of responding with “Yes, And” is to continue building a relationship and story. If actually saying “Yes, And” seems silly, you can use other phrases like “that’s interesting” or “I like that idea.”
Making good offers and saying “Yes, And” doesn’t work unless you actively listen. How many times have you asked someone about their weekend and “listened,” when in reality you were just waiting for the chance to interrupt and tell them about your weekend? The next time you have a conversation, concentrate on what the person is saying to you, instead of thinking about what you’ll say next. It’s common courtesy, but more importantly, it’s a smart way to build alliances and respect.
You don’t have to be the funniest person in the room to use improvisation skills to boost your business and build better connections with co-workers and clients. Just follow these 3 improv rules and have fun creating a memorable story with your scene partners.
Check out DuMore Improv on the web to learn more about improv training programs for leadership, customer service and presentation skills.
Photo credit: DuMore Improv