Improv to Improve

Large companies such as the well known “The Second City” use improv exercises to design new and exciting corporate entertainment formats and corporate training tools.  Many essential elements of successful business development, such as trust, active listening, innovation and the understanding and building of relationships can be developed using exercises created in the improv community.

Participants of corporate improv workshops learn a new way of thinking. They gain a new respect for others in negotiations or transactional relationships, how to be “in the moment“ and how to make positive choices that keep doors open. The greatest lessons are proactive listening as opposed to passive or even responsive listening, trusting one another to do the right thing and the benefits from watching the other guy’s back. 

We play games to make work better and more fulfilling, and there are games that help in all aspects of business. We can help you build all kinds of skill sets needed in today’s market.

Games: Examples of exercises for developing spontaneity and the overall the improving of improvisation skills are used in almost every teaching institute for improvisational theater. Here’s a case of a well-known game:

One Word At A Time: Students stand in a circle, and proceed to tell a story one word at a time. This game develops the ability to speak the first word that comes into your head. This game makes it seem like some other force is telling the story. In order, the dialogue come out like this as an example – “There” – spoken by the first person, “was” – said by second person,“once” – third person,“a” – fourth person,“child” – fifth “named” – sixth, “biff” – seventh person … and in this way the story continues, being created by the whole group together.

I also instruct Improv based groups to work on social and interactive anxiety as well as “Group” improv therapy for actual groups like bands, small businesses, new acting productions that are newly formed for an upcoming performance.

We create a safe environment for grown of this team of individuals. Every new group forming creates their own “Environment ” what is called the “Full Value Contract.”

Full Value Contract (FVC) refers to an important principle in Improv Group Therapy Since IGT is almost always group based and relies on people exposing themselves to perceived physical, emotional and social risks, it is vital that a supportive group atmosphere is developed and that basic, agreed principles of engagement are shared by the group.

There many different ways of creating a Full Value Contract.  FVC approaches tend to range regarding the degree to which a group is encouraged to develop their own terms of engagement through to instructors facilitating perceived adoption of some pre-decided types of behavior.

For example, many programs, such as Outward Bound, have mottos or basic training rules which participants are asked to agree to before signing on to participate.  Other programs (such as some corporate adventure training programs) are quite open-ended about what kinds of values a group wishes to adopt concerning individual and collective engagement with the training tasks.

Here’s an example of 5 basic principles (can be indicated/remembered by 5 fingers):

  • Be present
  • Pay attention
  • Speak your truth
  • Be open to outcomes
  • Create a safe environment

The “Ritual” Comment I was talking about explained here: