ImprovisationCan Advance Your CareerThedictionary definition of improvisation is to invent, compose, or recite withoutpreparation. Improv is something that people do every day though they might notrealize it. Creating a conversation with someone is considered improvisationand can be very helpful when trying to come up with the right things to say onthe spot. Improv can improve social skills and advance your career because itboosts confidence; helps people work better as a team and become more acceptingof other people’s ideas. In the mid 1500’s Commedia dell’arte was created.Commedia dell’arte, or comedy of art, means unwritten or improvised drama, andimplies that the performance is more important than the subject matter of theplay. This is an Italian theatrical form that grew throughout Europe from the16th to the 18th century. In the 1920’s and 1930’s ViolaSpolin and Keith Johnstone re-invented improvisation to create the craft thatwe know today.
Improv is a great way to build confidence and overcomefears. It is proven that public speaking is the number one fear of the averageperson, but taking improv classes can help people face their fears. When youstand in front of an audience all eyes fall on you and this can be tough onself-esteem. The more you stand in front of an audience the easier it will beto speak in front of a large group of people without being self-conscious ornervous. Building confidence is important to becoming a better leader, whichcan lead to a better career. A willingness to come up with new ideas and adaptto situations will establish you as a leader in the corporate world. Leadersneed to be doers but this can be difficult because most of the time the leadersfear they will make a bold choice that ends up being a mistake.
However, if youare constantly trying not to fail, how can you succeed? “In improv, you absolutely need to make achoice. If you make a choice, things happen. If you don’t, the product isawkward and boring” (Council 2017). This applies to all careers because if youare not able to make your own choices than you will always be relying on otherpeople. If no one takes risks it will be impossible for anyone to get ahead intheir career. In order to get ahead in your career, you must know yourcustomers. In improv you must know your audience in order to do well. Thismeans listening to your partner or team on stage so that you can react appropriately.
In public speaking, it means paying attention to what your audience needs. Inimprov and in public speaking your audience wants to know what you have to say.In improvisation speaking clearly and slowly is how you keep your audienceinterested. Quite often your adrenaline will be flowing and you want to powerthrough your presentation but if you talk too fast your audience won’t get achance to understand what you’re saying.
Having confidence in what you saymakes you more persuasive which is a great trait to have when looking tofurther your career. Another great trait to have is the ability to acceptother people’s ideas. Colleagues really appreciate when you treat their ideaswith respect even if your ideas are different.
One of the most fundamentalrules of improv comedy is that a player must never turn down the ideas ofanother player. The response to another’s suggestions, no matter how crazy, mustalways be “yes and…” “It seems simple, but it’sa rather profound notion: To accept another’s ideas and incorporate them intoone’s own as a matter of principle requires a great deal of letting go of fearand control”(Klock 1). It requires a lot of trust, collaboration andcommunication. “It was a powerful demonstration of how to build on someoneelse’s ideas, rather than shutting them down to advance your own” (Bluestein 1).Collaborating is very important in the workplace. People like to see how wellyou work with others because that can make a big impact on how efficiently workgets done. Improvisation helps people to stay in the moment and tolisten intently. The Improv Effecthelps people to become better listeners, team players, leaders and helps peopleto become better at communicating.
Itis a group that was started by Jessie Shternshus in 2007 and her goal is to help businesses reach their fullpotential by training them to have better communication skills. Listening to people makes it easier to react towhat others are saying on the spot. Being a good listener is a great trait tohave and it can help you to get your work done the right way without having to asktoo many questions. People who listen to other ideas and contribute to theideas without being dismissive can be very likeable people.
It is important to havegood people skills and to be able to get along with others if you want toadvance your career. “The same principles thatmakes someone a good improv comedian can also be applied to your professionallife, where they can actually help you succeed” (Hess 2016). Companies likeGoogle, Ford, Cisco, etc. are hiring people with backgrounds in the artsbecause of their creativity and quick thinking.
Universities such as Yale andHarvard have all taken on improv to enhance social skills and build strongerteams. Improvisation is based on trust and working well as a team. If thesethings cannot be accomplished, it will not be a successful improv team and theshows will not be enjoyable to watch. You have to be able to trust your team inorder to work well with them. “Thesame is true of leaders: you need a great ensemble, working in concertaround you, to succeed” (Yorton 2015). There is a great dealof collaboration that goes on during improv and in your career.
Some people may think that improvisation is a joke andthat it is nothing but a waste of time. There can be many strange ideas thatare said during improv and it can become quite touchy-feely which may beconsidered inappropriate for a workplace. Improv provides a false idea of how tointeract with people. In improv any crazy idea is possible but may not beplausible in reality. Improv is risky and there is a large chance that you maymake a mistake or say something inappropriate by accident. An improviser mighteven become overconfident and speak their mind when it is not needed. All ofthese before mentioned ideas of improvisation are nothing but opinions.
It isproven that improvisation helps in stressful situations and it can help peoplework better as a team. It enhances communication skills and alertness which aregreat things to have while working. Being spontaneous or taking risks is nevera bad thing. It only makes you stand out from everyone else which is whatpeople look for when hiring. Improvisation can help with many things such as: enhancingawareness of verbal and non-verbal communication, improving the ability tounderstand how to respond appropriately, developing an idea of when it isnecessary to share and when to listen, and collaborating with a team. Improvbrings out the confidence in people that is needed to be a leader and takerisks.
These skills make a great employee and can be extremely helpful infurthering your career.