Improv Rules: 3 Rules for Leaders & Teams
3 Minute Read
Improv rules are for more than improv, they will help you gain skills to become a better leader on your team. These are the rules that I’ve learned in Improv that I’d like you to practice today. Three fundamental rules that can help you improve how you listen, lead and respond to others on your team.
Improv Rules # 1
Somebody says something, and you Yes, and it…
In business (and many times in life) we try to look smart, show everyone we are right, prove that we’re smarter than the next guy. (Isn’t this what we learned in school to be “successful?”)
(Of course, when we watch people “prove how smart they are,” don’t they really land up looking pretty stupid?)
The way comedy works on stage with an improv troop is, I agree to whatever somebody has said and I go with it. So, if someone says, “I think you’re an idiot,” the response is “Yeah! Oh, you think that was idiotic, check this out!!!”
It fundamentally changes the way you relate to each other and for those of you who have partners, spouses, kids, and dogs, it works magically at home. You come home and your spouse says “where have you been you idiot?” and you respond, “Oh, you think being late makes me an idiot, wait till I tell you all the mistakes I made today at work!!!”
This works because:
- It’s funny. (Why, because it is NOT the expected response!)
- You accept what the other person said (Accepting another’s input is EXTREMELY rare!)
- It creates connection.
Improv Rules #2
Make your partner look good.
In improv, when each person on stage is dedicated to make the other person look great, the scene kills. (In comedy killing is a good thing. If you go up on stage and you died, of course, that’s a bad thing!)
If I walk on stage and I say “oh mother, it’s lovely to see you.” Then the person on stage goes “I ain’t your mother” the scenes dies.
But if, on the other hand, my partner says “well it’s about time, I could have died and been lying on the floor for days, would you even care?” I make my partner look good, by showing his idea was fantastic, and I am going to build on it, and of course, there begins a story, a story where the people are connected. Where there is “reality,” especially the reality of how funny it is when two related people struggle…well, that’s funny!
Improv Rules # 3
Everything’s A Gift
If someone at work says to me “You call this complete, my two year old could have done better work,” most of us would be incensed, angry, and ready to go to battle.
If on the other hand we treat it as a gift…our response might be, “Well I always had trouble coloring in the lines,” you begin a dialogue. You treat what your partner gave you as a gift, and again, you have built connection.
Yes, accepting everything as a gift might look DIFFICULT to live by, but once you start to live by these rules, or “agreements” that you have with each other on a team, life gets so much more fun, and your results will skyrocket! Even your mother will be proud!
Watch my keynote on Improv Skills for Executives at the Global Institute for Leadership Development
Want to see improv in action? Watch me here…
Bring Improv skills to your team here