OTHER • August 26, 2016
1 minute Read
When you think of improv, you might picture zany performances by comedians cracking jokes and making up nonsense to get a laugh. But did you know the skills required to perform hilarious shows are some of the same ones that can benefit you as a business owner? From keeping things positive to building your confidence, here are some improv principles you can practice that can have a positive impact on your business.
It’s the most famous tenet of improv, but “Yes, and…” is just as valuable to entrepreneurs as it is to actors. Its purpose is to keep ideas moving. No matter what you’re facing, you accept it and add something of your own to it. For example, imagine you’re trying to come up with an innovative way to increase sales. You and one of your employees are brainstorming ideas, but they’re all met with NO. The project is dead in its tracks. But when you begin to say, “Yes, and,” not only do you accept that this idea might work, you’re also adding more to it, moving it forward and increasing the chance of success.
It’s no secret that you probably spend your day making hundreds of tiny (or big) decisions. And at times, you won’t have the luxury of sleeping on it for a few days. Improv teaches the art of quick thinking, and taking action on the first thing that comes to your mind. While this may not be the most effective overall business strategy, it certainly can help you feel more confident in your daily decision-making.
When you watch the comedians on Saturday Night Live cracking jokes that make the audience erupt in wild laughter, you can bet that didn’t happen instantaneously. The writers most likely went through hours improvising, creating bad joke after bad joke until they found the one that works. Business is often like this, and the more comfortable you are with taking risks and accepting that failure is part of the process, the more likely you are to come up with the next groundbreaking innovation or creative marketing campaign. Practicing risk taking also builds confidence. When you start out, you may be scared to make mistakes, but as you practice, you’ll notice the fear of failure begins fading away.
If any of these skills sound like they could improve your business, there’s good news. As the general public starts to learn what improvisers have known for decades, classes are becoming more widely available. Look for classes offered by theatres in your community, or even classes geared towards improv for business.
No matter what class you choose, you’ll have fun while learning skills you’ll use every day. And now that you’ve learned the importance of saying yes, find out how saying no can reduce stress and increase productivity.
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