Thursday, April 2, 2009

Improve with Improv



Think SNL or Second City. Do these silly skits have anything serious to teach us about building better brands?

Quite possibly yes, if you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone.

My friend Marcy was recently telling me about a class she's taking at The People's Improv Theater in NYC . Marcy is an Internet marketer by day. This is just a hobby. She loves the class, it's a great stress buster and she's learning something important about human relationships...namely LETTING GO!

Since I (like many of you) view brands as relationships my ears pricked up. Was she onto something here that could help build better brands?

It turns out, one of the fundamental rules for successful improv is to immediately accept and build on the scenario that is launched by your partner.

If your partner starts the scene by pointing at you and saying "why, look you are a big green martian", the best course of action is to build on this: "Why yes, I am a martian- the very greenest of them all." Any attempt to resist or re-direct results in a short and not very successful scene.

You need to abandon your secret desire to do a scene about something else. A brain surgeon...or an Arctic explorer. And go with the flow created by your improv partner.

Letting go sound easy? Not necessarily so.

Think about the many brainstorm sessions where you pretend to be open to new ideas, but in reality you are just biding your time until you can get your brilliant idea out on the table.

Next time, resist the urge to re-direct and instead embrace your inner martian. Run with it. Revel in it. Play it out to it's fullest potential. Later, when it's your turn to start the scene you can launch your vision of an Arctic world, and since you have set a good example chances are others will be happy to trek across the ice floes with you.

That's my point of view. What's your twist?

How have you used improv to improve?

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