Episode 069: Yes, And. Using Improv to Build Collaboration

There’s a revolution going on at work.  How we learn, communicate and work is radically changing – even as we speak.  In this new world, professional success is often dependent on creativity, communication, and collaboration.  In this episode we explore how to use “Yes, and,” along with other improv techniques to develop the 3 C’s.

(c) AdobeStock Photo

(c) AdobeStock Photo

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On This Episode

Rhythm of Life – Human Drama at the Departure Gate
Random Riffs – When Second Best…Isn’t
Feature Segment – “Yes, And.”  Using Improv to Drive Collaboration

Rhythm of Life – Human Drama at the Departure Gate

Last week I was flying home from business trip.  Through a series of mishaps, the flight departure ended up delayed by almost 6 hours – from 6:30 pm to 12:20 am.  It was frustrating, and we were tired.

There were many things the airline could have done better that we can also learn from.

  1. Don’t say you’re going to communicate and then don’t.
  2. Don’t promise something you don’t deliver.
  3. Don’t be surprised by deadlines. Know what they are and anticipate.
  4. Don’t exacerbate an already bad situation because of your own incompetence.

Sometimes you have to go with the flow.  It’s better to focus on what you’re grateful for.  How it could have been worse.  And if those around you are moaning and complaining, it helps to have earbuds and some good music.

Random Riffs – How to Be Happier With Second Best

An article in the December issue of Scientific American Mind says:  “When your first choice is unavailable, you may be more satisfied with something completely different.”

Some researchers performed a test with gourmet chocolate, store-brand chocolate, and a granola bar.  The conclusion they came to was, “If you can’t have what you really want, perhaps it’s not a good idea to substitute with a similar item.  Or it may suffer by comparison.

Feature Segment – Yes, And.  How to use Improv to Drive Collaboration

Your company just funded a huge project, the likes of which you’ve never done before.  They hire consultants to help you get started.  They turn out to be…actors.  Who perform improv comedy.  What can comedic actors teach the business world?  Besides to not take themselves too seriously, plenty.  In this episode, we talk about 3 improv techniques that help foster creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Yes, And…  Agree with and build on the previous person’s idea.  The point is to keep the conversation going and also possibly redirect it.  “Yes, and” affirms and builds.  It requires listening and empathy.  It’s a great skill to develop in all facets of your life.

Use Failure:  Failure can be a catalyst for not only growth but also success.  2nd City chooses to fail in these important ways:

  1. In public.
  2. Together.
  3. Fast.
  4. Free of judgement
  5. With Confidence
  6. Incrementally.

How many relationships or business are broken because we don’t expect failure, don’t support one another through it, or continue to fail because we don’t notice it?  Our goal should be to fail early and learn from it.

Listen:  So many people talk about listening, yet so few are good at it.  It takes training and practice, like developing a muscle.  Improv listening goes beyond active listening.  It is treating each word the speaker utters as a gift and responding accordingly.

The authors also point out the difference between a team and ensemble.

OK –after what you’ve heard, you're going to sign up for an improv class, aren’t you?  Maybe not.  But you might want to apply principles of improv to your business and personal life.  And if you're interested in picking up the book, here's a link.

How might you apply the principle of “Yes, and” in your life today?  When you leave a comment, we all get to learn how to practically apply this skill to our lives too.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.