Four Improv Techniques That Can Help You Communicate Better

Have you heard the one about the man who took off his pants in the middle of a corporate training exercise? “That happened once!” says actor Robyn Scott. She’s describing the freewheeling atmosphere integral to the communications workshops she runs for Second City, the improv theater that famously served as a launchpad for some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Steve Carell. As an instructor with Second City Works (SCW), the theater’s consulting side, Scott leads groups of up to 50 employees from such companies as Cisco, Facebook, and Google in a series of 10- to 20-minute exercises that draw on one of the key tenets of improv: the willingness to adopt a “Yes, and . . . ” approach to conversation. “It’s perfect for brainstorming and also helps people open up in situations that might trigger anxiety, like a process or management change,” says Scott. She and fellow actor Meagan O’Brien share how they use improv schooling to inspire creative solutions.



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