It's Not All Improv: 9 Improvisation Lessons That Can Make You a Better Presenter and Teammate


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Over the past year, I’ve noticed a shift in the way we present our work and ourselves. As we’ve grown our expertise in financial services and our individual disciplines, we’ve become more comfortable doing what we do best. We’re more natural, friendly and confident. To acknowledge and support this shift, I sought out a way to make us even better at being unscripted.

After vetting various organizations, we invited Chris and Ann from LifePlays to facilitate an improv workshop at Comrade. For a few hours one afternoon, we stepped away from client work, formed a circle and jumped into the fundamentals of improv. By the end of the day, we were applying improvisational techniques to realistic work scenarios. Passing the “yellow ball” and encouraging each other with “yes, and…,” we found inspiration and confidence, and succeeded in helping everyone sound brilliant.

It's been some time since we completed the workshop, but every day we’re embracing the lessons we learned. Our conversations are more balanced and energetic, both with our clients and each other. We’re better at listening and supporting each other to keep ideas bubbling forth.

Through improv we've become better comrades. I couldn’t have hoped for a better result.

Here are some improvisation tips that have helped us be better presenters and teammates.

Published in: Design, Education

It's Not All Improv: 9 Improvisation Lessons That Can Make You a Better Presenter and Teammate

  1. 1. IT’S NOT ALL IMPROV 9 Improvisation Lessons That Can Make You a Better Presenter and Teammate
  2. 2. SUPPORT YOUR TEAM AND MAKE EVERYONE LOOK BRILLIANT. Acknowledge your team members by their names when you’re speaking, and refer to smart things they’ve said. This helps them feel confident, establishes their credibility, and turns your audience into believers. 1 Photo by Children First available under CC
  3. 3. BREATHE, RELAX AND TRUST YOUR TEAM. Don’t stress out. Let your confidence shine with the knowledge that you have support from your team members.2
  4. 4. BE PASSIONATE AND ENERGETIC, AND REALLY HAVE FUN WHEN YOU ARE SPEAKING. IT’S CONTAGIOUS. If your presentation has life, your audience will feel and mirror your energy and enthusiasm. 3 Photo by memories_by_mike available under CC
  5. 5. BE PRESENT IN THE CONVERSATION AND FOCUS ON WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING. You have to be interested to be interesting. Eye contact and nodding in agreement show you’re engaged and make everyone feel more collaborative and confident. 4
  6. 6. FIND NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN UNSCRIPTED-NESS. Be comfortable with silence, and don’t over-plan. Making mistakes is okay; you can find clever ways to recover from them.5
  7. 7. STRIVE FOR EQUALITY AND BALANCE. Everyone has something to offer. Avoid always being the driver or the passenger in a conversation. Learn how to use “Yes, and…” to pass the focus to other team members and allow them to contribute equally. 6 Photo by gail m tang available under CC
  8. 8. BE CONFIDENT AND CONSCIENCE OF YOUR BODY. You can control your body and how you use it, even if you can’t control the meeting. It is just as important to be aware of your physical communication while you’re presenting as it is when others are presenting. 7
  9. 9. TELL STORIES THAT HELP PAINT A PICTURE AND ADD RELEVANCE TO YOUR MESSAGE. Sometimes, the best way to get your message across is finding ways to tell stories people can relate to. Business isn’t just business; it’s human. 8 Photo by gail m tang available under CC
  10. 10. TAKE TIME BEFORE AND AFTER TO THANK YOUR TEAM MEMBERS. Providing introductions and encouragement before the presentation sets a positive tone. Expressing gratitude for showing up and making an effort afterwards reinforces your support for your team. 9
  11. 11. THANK YOU Senior User Experience Strategist w 510.277.3400 x706 CHRISTINE ELBO