Not everyone is good ‘off the cuff’.
Some of us are methodical thinkers. We sit in a meeting, listen to all the details and take a few days to process and form answers. Well that won’t work. That meeting is over, discussion had, decision made. You are too late.
Others don’t feel comfortable voicing their option in a crowded room, in front of peers with everyone looking directly at them. So they stay quiet and talk about it with one co-worker at the water cooler. Again, it’s too late. You missed the boat
Or maybe you are great at chiming in (insert my photo here). But that gets me in trouble too. It can be unedited, unfiltered and unproductive.
So how can improv teach you to be great off the cuff?
- You have to think on your feet.
There’s no script, no predetermined outcome (not unlike most meetings) You have to process information quickly and you have to react or the scene ends. You can’t just come back in a day or two when you come up with a great comeback.
- Be Present
The key to great improv is that the players are completely in the moment. They are listening intently. They react appropriately and they feel at ease and in command of themselves.
- “Yes… and” – The first rule of improve
This rule makes all things possible. If at any point you negate a situation, another’s point of view or anything others say about you, the scene or the meeting goes off the rails. Open yourself to all possibilities to free yourself and speak in the moment.
So go out and try an improve class. I get that going to a class can seem terrifying to some. But honestly, it’s no different than putting yourself out there at work every day. Only you are in a safe place where everyone else is out on a limb as well. I promise it will get you out of your head and into the present. Then let me know your improv experiences – they usually make for great storytelling.