Thank you so much to everyone who came out to our Improv Workshop last month! We had a total blast pretending to be zombies and learning about how to effectively communicate. Now while magicians don’t reveal their secrets, improvers do, so we are going to share some of Bryan Weiser’s exclusive tips on how the rules of improv can help you improve your communication and public speaking skills!
Bryan’s Rules to Improv(e) your Communication Skills:
Be Positive, but be Positively You
What Does that Mean: Say ‘yes’ to different situations in improv! Accept what your scene partner gives you and don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone. When we start a scene positively, we make everyone feel at ease. At the same time, do what inspires you. If you feel like an idea is way out of your element, change it to fit your own style. Don’t feel trapped!
How does that relate to communication/public speaking: Public speaking can be scary, but it is important to take chances and try. It is also important to be authentic when publically speaking – people can tell when we aren’t being ourselves. To effectively communicate, we want to start off communicating positively. How would a group member feel if we started initially telling them that they were doing an awful job? Start with something positive before telling them how to improve.
What Does that Mean: Make clear, confident choices in a scene. The clearer you are, the better chance your scene partner can figure out what to do next. Make a choice and carry it out (even if it may not be your best).
How does that relate to communication/public speaking: It is important to be clear, concise, and confident when we communicate with other people on our team. With public speaking, have a clear purpose and idea with what you are addressing and do your research before, so your ideas are not muddled and lost on your audience.
What Does that Mean: Be relatable! The best improv sketches are the ones with people reacting in a way that they/their character would authentically react. When we are genuine, we bring more to the table than we realize!
How does that relate to communication/public speaking: When communicating with others or public speaking, speak in a way that’s genuine in nature. Don’t use vocabulary that you wouldn’t normally use. Play to your strengths and you will come across more personal. You don’t need to use creative “schtick” because the creativity and charm will come out when you are authentically you!
Make your Scene Partner Look Good
What Does that Mean: In a word, TRUST! Trust that your partner will make you look good and they must reciprocate that trust. It is counterproductive to throw your partner to the wolves (for example, creating a story line for them that they now have to do because you told the audience about it). If your intention is to make your partner look good, and theirs is to make you look good, you can’t have a bad time.
How does that relate to communication/public speaking: A good leader will build up their team and make their team look good. Instead of telling their team to do something out of the blue, they will ask and play to their team’s strengths. If a boss forced the IT guy work on a marketing project, not only would the product be sub-par, but that team member would feel like they were thrown under fire. Read the room and trust that your team will make you look good in the end.
What Does that Mean: Sometimes, things just won’t go your way. The audience will not be with you and a lack of laughter can feel like the highest form of criticism. Don’t back away, steer into the storm. When the going gets tough, it’s important to laugh it off and embrace your failure.
How does that relate to communication/public speaking: Sometimes in life, a presentation or speech won’t go our way. Don’t be discouraged; be critical. Understand what went wrong, laugh it off, and be cognisant of your error next time. It will never be the end of the world. Be reflective and gain more self-awareness from the experience.