Humor as a Business Tool

 Improv Classes for Adults… “Let’s Laugh!  It’s Just Improv” are currently being taught in the western suburbs, specifically Geneva, every Wednesday and Thursday evening from 7:00 - 9:00 PM. 

Dan Pink is one of my favorite authors and To Sell is Human, my favorite of his books.  In it, he devotes an entire section to improvisation.  According to Pink, the ability to improvise is one of the keys to successful selling in our new information age.  Improvisation teaches us to listen well, find places to agree and make our partners look good.  All are great life skills, equally applicable in our personal and professional lives.

Notes from Pink’s book, on-line articles and over 83K YouTube videos all tout the benefits of improv.  One of my favorites is Improv Wisdom:  Don’t Prepare.  Just Show Up by Patricia Ryan Madson.

Madson has 40+ years experience teaching.  She founded the Stanford Improvisors in 1991 and subsequently won the university's highest teaching prize.  She says. "Let's face it:  Life is something we all make up as we go along.  No matter how carefully we formulate a script, it is bound to change when we interact with people with scripts of their own...(so) loosen up, think on (your) feet and take on everything life has to offer with skill, chutzpah and a sense of humor."

I had forgotten how much I like to just jump in with both feet and figure it out on the way down.  Maybe not for appropriate for everything, but certainly appropriate for more that I have been realizing lately.  I think I've gotten too caught up in being totally prepared.  In reality, that's probably not even possible.

Improv is fresh, spontaneous and freeing.  It forces me to stay in the moment.  It teaches me creativity and collaboration. Improv is certainly useful when I find myself in an unplanned situation and have to be able to engage.  I’ve learned a lot from improv and you can too.  Here's some of my favorite nuggets of wisdom.

Learn to value spontaneous, improvised speech - Go ahead and speak that precious first thought.  Go with it.  The spontaneous, first responses are never false.

Learn to Listen – Wait.  Learn to “listen without listening for anything.”  Attune yourself to your partner to really hear what they are offering you.  Accept and…

Learn "Yes, and" - This simple little trick of adding on to a phrase allows you to take something, anything, even something very ordinary and elevate it to a different level.  Learn how to use it like a pro and you'll always be moving things forward.

Join us on Wednesday or Thursday night at 7:00 to laugh and learn.  Fall classes are starting in September.  Visit our IMPROV page for more information or call 630-402-0429.