I regularly do “improv” — improvisation. Sometimes we rehearse and practice in a small group, sometimes I perform in public.
What is improv? Well, first of all, it’s not stand-up comedy. In fact, improv doesn’t even need to be comedy or make you laugh, even though a lot of improv scenes are quite funny. You can create an improvised work in any genre, including drama, musical, film noir, opera, etc.
Improv is a group of people creating and simultaneously acting out a story together without a script or plan. That group could just have one person in it also.
There are many great business benefits to it. It’s even said that unicorn Palantir gives out copies of Keith Johnstone’s book Impro to all new employees.
Here are key benefits for business people:
- Improve your listening skills, something key to sales and teamwork. You need to keep track of the name of the other characters in the scene, references to other characters, what is going on and what is being said. It really helps you up your listening skills.
- Improve your creativity and ability to shift course quickly — As you improvise a scene you may think it’s going in one direction, and then a teammate adds something new to the story that takes it in a whole new direction, and you have to be able discard your preconceived notions.
- Improve ability to jump into any situation without fear — you quickly learn that it’s ok to fail or be imperfect, but you also learn techniques on how to succeed and create something from nothing. This can eliminate your fears and embarassment when you have to do something in public, because you can always rely on patterns and learnings from improv.
Here’s a Hat Game sketch we recorded last night, in Spanish. Each player is trying to take the hat off of the other person while still improvising a real scene. The first one to remove the hat ‘wins’ and at that time the scene ends. But what is winning and who really wins… and what happens when you’re improvising a scene while you are scheming to achieve that goal?
Don’t forget to try out our new app Zooch! which will also help you feel flow, plus subscribe to this blog to get notifications of new posts, plus follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and get trading on BitMEX, or even schedule a call with me for some advice, etc. Oh, and where did I learn improv? I learned it from instructors at BATS Improv in San Francisco, California, including in courses they taught that I took at American Conservatory Theatre.