Today’s advice comes from Mark Fuller, CEO of WET Design:
“Improv, if properly taught, is really about listening to the other person, because there’s no script. It’s about responding. I was noticing that we didn’t have a lot of good communication among our people.
“If you think about it, if you have an argument with your wife or husband, most of the time people are just waiting for the other person to finish so they can say what they’re waiting to say. So usually they’re these serial machine-gun monologues, and very little listening.
“That doesn’t work in improv. If we’re on the stage, I don’t know what goofball thing you’re going to say, so I can’t be planning anything. I have to really be listening to you so I can make an intelligent — humorous or not — response.
“So I got this crazy idea of bringing in someone to teach an improv class. At first, everybody had an excuse, because it’s kind of scary to stand up in front of people and do this. But now we’ve got a waiting list because word has spread that it’s really cool.
“You’re in an emotionally naked environment. It’s like we’re all the same. We all can look stupid. And it’s an amazing bonding thing, plus it’s building all these communication skills. You’re sort of in this grey space of uncertainty. Most of us don’t like to be uncertain — you know, most of us like to be thinking what we’re going to say next. You get your mind into a space where you say, “I’m really enjoying that I don’t know what he’s going to ask me next, and I’m going to be open and listening and come back.”
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