Many of us have watched the live improv show, “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and have been thoroughly entertained by the seamless, witty backwards and forwards between the skilled actors. Their improvisation skills are excellent and result in a unique and hilarious performance.
Improvisation is taught as part of our drama curriculum but is so much more than a form of theatre. It allows our students to develop skills which are useful in later life, especially in the world of business.
What is Improvisation?
Improvisation, or improv as it’s commonly known is a form of theatre which allows the participants to make up the plot, characters or story in the moment. This requires some pretty quick thinking, a flexible approach, and a willingness to “go with the flow.”
How Can Improvisation Skills Help You In Business?
The skills required of a successful improv actor are many and varied, and most of them can be mirrored in the secular environment. Let’s consider a few:
Reading the Cues
In improv, you never know what your fellow actors are going to do or say next. And to be fair, the real world of life and business is in no way scripted; we live each day with the expectation of something new and different.
Being able to read the body language, facial expressions and unspoken cues from the people around us is a wonderful skill to hone. In theatre, it will help us to prepare ourselves for the next scene, and in business, it will grant us a degree of insight to what people may be thinking, perhaps whether they support and agree with your new proposal.
Understanding Differing Perspectives
Your improvisation teacher may tell you that you are an introverted person in this scene, which will affect everything you do and say. In real life, you may be thoroughly extroverted, so having to fit into the personality of someone so different from who you are, gives you a unique perspective.
In business, some people may come across as rude or aggressive when they are really just outspoken and direct. Others may look shifty, where they are actually shy and retiring. Seeing and understanding these different personalities and perspectives is a brilliant way to engage with people who are different from ourselves.
We’ve heard too many times that there is no “I” in “Team” which is a slightly jargony way of saying that we all need to work together. Improvisation skills taught in drama force students to collaborate within a scene that may not be their idea, a direction that they may not have thought of, or with people that they don’t know.
Being willing and able to work together with others for the common good is a life skill which will be welcome wherever you end up in business.
Indeed, improvisation skills learned in drama are valuable tools for life, family and business. Would you like to know more?