What is it?
Improvisation is the act of creating something spontaneously without preparation. And we do it every day of our lives. The conversations you have with friends, and families, and colleagues are rarely scripted, and even if you have planned out what you are going to say, you can never account for what the other person might say, so you’re going to have to improvise.
Improvisation at its most basic level, lets you respond more quickly in real time. People are imperfect, things won’t always go to plan, and improvisation will help you to be in a better position to adapt to the unexpected bumps in the road that come with any business environment, so it pays to be good at it!
"Using the improv principle of “Yes, And”, players know that whatever they say will be accepted by other players in the scene. That’s why improv can be so helpful for social anxiety, which often stems from a fear that the opposite will happen (rejection).
Improvisation also makes failure seem safe, which is exactly what’s needed for the socially anxious.”
DANIEL PINK, AUTHOR
“Improv is uniquely suited to our times. These days anything that can be scripted can be automated. All that matters now is the unscripted stuff—unexpected questions, personal connections.
There’s only one technique out there for what to do when you don’t have a script: improv.”
Why we use it
Be in the moment
Improvisation puts you in the moment, forces you to concentrate on the other person in the here and now. You are not thinking about the before or after. Indeed you cannot. You have to focus on the now.
As there is no prep work for the class, you are constantly experiencing in the moment. Reducing stress and anxiety about past or future, as you are only concerned with the now. We put you in the present.
In recent years the term failure has been transformed from an action (I failed) to an identity (I am a failure).
But you have to fail. If you don’t fail, then it will never occur to you to try something different. Through improvisation we are constantly rapid prototyping ideas, seeing what works, what doesn’t, reworking them, and trying again.
We reframe that failure, and instead of linking it to our identity, we realised that it is a learning opportunity. It is how we grow. Failure is embedded in success.
We don't just talk about it, we do it
Participants in an improvisation class don’t just learn about the importance of being spontaneous. They are spontaneous. No longer do they have to try and be creative. They are creative. We don’t just learn about a skill, we experience it.
To truly develop a skill you have to experience it. There is no other way more effective. You can read all the books, videos, and presentations in the world, but if you don’t experience it yourself, you will never develop a decent level of ability in it.
Improvisation helps people generate productive relationships, find connections, be active, be adaptable, be flexible to change, try new things, take risks, be present in the moment, be great listeners, respond instead of react, think ahead, multitask, and be good storytellers, just to name a few.
You can find our about the health, psychological and financial benefits here.
Even better, these qualities are fully transferable to your life outside the office. The benefit of improvisation can extend to your personal relationships, whether with your partner, your family, or your friends.