A Night At The Improv: How DRIVEN Event Participants Learned To Play Their Professional Roles
We had a sneaking suspicion that exploring improvisation would be an entertaining and laughter-filled exercise for the DRIVEN Professionals in attendance at last week’s live workshop Using Improvisation In Business, with guest presenter and improv coach Paige Wilhide. But what we hadn’t suspected was just how powerful the lessons would be. What appeared on the surface as a series of drills designed to make us feel a tad embarrassed turned out to be valuable lessons in listening, executive presence, body language, team building, brainstorming, participating in effective meetings, and positive communication with colleagues….all in one night, mind you!
From the very first giggle-inducing activity, during which we learned everyone’s name, we found ourselves en pointe. This revealed an ah-ha moment, as we began to understand the importance of always having a conversational next step in mind. After all, being caught flat-footed translates to others as uncertainty, sluggishness, and dullness of wit.
No “Buts” About It
A creative idea-building exercise then shifted our perspective away from the usual business meeting mindset of “my agenda is priority”. We learned that remarkable sentiments, ideas and stories can be created with just a single word as a prompt. Additionally, the experience of everyone’s sincere investment in the team’s success was an empowering one. By utilizing the age-old improv technique of replacing the negative words “no” and “but” with the open-ended segue “yes, and…” demonstrated that being positive allows for greater creativity while earning you the respect of your colleagues.
Paige then proved that serving on a mock panel could be a fun and innovative way to acquire some executive presence. This exercise illustrated brilliantly how simply being granted the position of panelist can begin to inspire a person to feel powerful in their role as an “expert”. The words these panelists began to use, as well as the body language they exhibited indicated how comfortable they were in their new roles, without even being aware that they were embodying an expert persona. The transformation was remarkable to witness!
Meeting Of The Minds
Perhaps the evening’s most significant takeaway related to sharpening our ability to listen in business meetings. We can all relate to walking into a meeting with our own agenda, and not being able to truly listen to the other ideas in the room. At the end of our workshop, many participants pledged to experiment with turning off their tunnel vision before entering their next meetings, arriving with a more positive attitude and an open mind, employing a “yes, and…” mindset instead of a cut-and-dry “no” or “but” attitude. By outwardly showing appreciation for others, welcoming others’ points of view, and putting people at ease in the meeting setting, each participant will be poised to enjoy a more creative, more engaged, and more collaborative career.
If you’d like to learn more about Paige Wilhide, and possibly become a client, she would love to teach you how catapult your career by standing out in the crowd, complete with your own marketing video. Visit her website today to get started! Thank you to Paige, and to all who attended the workshop. The laughter still echoes….