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Two Big Improv Myths & One Small One

Two big improv myths, & one small one.

Ask someone about “improv” and chances are the first thing they think of are comedy.

Or maybe jazz.

But really it’s about playing to the top of your intelligence, whether you’re a comedic performer, Kenny G., or just someone who wants to succeed in life.

Big myth 1: Improv is comedy.

It’s not.

Improvisation is an approach that helps you react, adapt and communicate so you can achieve your goals.

Sometimes the goal is a laugh, but not always.

Big myth 2: Improv is making stuff up off the top of your head.

Nope.

Improv is a deliberate strategy that leverages context, experience, and training to help form a response to challenges and make fast decisions in situations you haven’t planned for.

Small myth: Improv is improv.

All improvisers are great at listening, accepting and building on ideas, communicating with specificity, and thinking on their feet.

You’ve probably seen shows like Whose Line is it Anyway, or Thank God You’re Here, or maybe you’ve seen a TheatreSports show and been amazed at how the performers do all of the above so effortlessly.

What all those shows have in common is they are “short-form” improv.

It’s funny to watch, since everyone is their own star, trying to out-funny each other, but it’s super competitive, sometimes by design.

But there’s another style of improv out there called “long-form.”

And the subtle, important difference between long and short-form improv is what we call the “ensemble philosophy.”

In a successful ensemble, everyone has each other’s backs and strives to make each other’s ideas, choices, and actions make sense and look good, and it’s super collaborative.

An ensemble is all about “we,” not “me.”

Instilling an ensemble philosophy inside your business unlocks true collaboration, communication, and camaraderie.

By applying this fundamental philosophy in a corporate context, and then expanding on it, great things can be achieved.

Play at the top of your game.

Think of improv as a set of techniques to be used at the right time and place.

It can improve the way ideas are generated, help manage the unexpected, open lines of communication, and boost the efficiency of any organisation.

With enough training and practice, improv will help you perform at the top of your intelligence.

And that’s why we’re here.

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