improve it! Intern Update: Abby Provides a Philosophical Take on Her Time

improve it! Intern Update: Abby Provides a Philosophical Take on Her Time

What really makes us laugh, and why? Most ancient philosophers argue that humor stems from scorn or malice and we can only laugh when feeling superior to others. While in theory I feel this has some truth to it, I tend to disagree.

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improve it! Intern Update: Jenna checks in!

improve it! Intern Update: Jenna checks in!

Before beginning my internship at improve it!, I thought improv was strictly part of the comedy world. I had seen a few shows and thought they were funny, but that was all I knew about it. Joining the improve it! team made me realize that using improv and saying “Yes, And” is an invaluable skill for life in general. This realization was even more apparent after I participated in the business improv workshop last month.

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The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 4 of 4

The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 4 of 4

Welcome! This week, we're celebrating the "Week of 'No'". (Sometimes it's good to be bad.) Throughout the week, we'll explore ways to harness the power of "No" but still create a "Yes, And" environment around you! This week, we complete our journey with "Yes, And".

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The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 3 of 4

The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 3 of 4

Welcome! This week, we're celebrating the "Week of 'No'". (Sometimes it's good to be bad.) Throughout the week, we'll explore ways to harness the power of "No" but still create a "Yes, And" environment around you! This week, we continue our journey with "It's Not 'No', It's Just 'Not Right Now".

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The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 2 of 4

The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 2 of 4

Welcome! This week, we're celebrating the "Week of 'No'". (Sometimes it's good to be bad.) Throughout the week, we'll explore ways to harness the power of "No" but still create a "Yes, And" environment around you! This week, we start with "Active Acknowledgement".

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The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 1 of 4

The Week of "No"​: How to Harness the Power of "No"​ (and how not to be a j*rk about it...) Part 1 of 4

This week, we're celebrating the "Week of 'No'". (Sometimes it's good to be bad.) Throughout the week, we'll explore ways to harness the power of "No" but still create a "Yes, And" environment around you! Tomorrow, we start with "Active Acknowledgement".

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improve it! on "The Culture Chat" podcast for WorkXO

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Take a listen to improve it!'s own Erin Diehl on "The Culture Chat", a podcast from our friends over at WorkXO! Erin and the WorkXO crew talk company culture and how improv fits into the mix. For a bonus, check out Allie Keller's blog reaction to the podcast where she explains how we're all Steaks, Potatoes, or Parsleys. Trust us - it makes sense!

Listen to the podcast here.

Too Late: Business is Politics is Business

Too Late: Business is Politics is Business

No matter your political leanings or beliefs - this inauguration day we're about to embark on a journey to an unknown destination. No matter if you're scared, relieved, excited, neutral, or angry: it's real and it's happening.

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Ciao, Roma: Rachel Bids Us a Final Farewell

Ciao, Roma: Rachel Bids Us a Final Farewell

Working at improve it! has been quite an adventure. I started out about seven months ago feeling like a small, shy girl having her first real world experience in the work life. And now, I’m sitting here on the last day in the office, feeling sad because it’s the last day, but more courageous, confident, experienced... who am I kidding, the list goes on. I have had so many memorable experiences with improve it!, but I would like to share my favorite parts.

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Hello, It's Me: Parting Words from Our Intern, Tati!

Hello, It's Me: Parting Words from Our Intern, Tati!

On a very hot, very humid, very gloomy summer afternoon, I was busy painting my room in my new apartment when I noticed a missed phone call appear on my phone screen. The unknown number appeared and I knew right away I was hearing back from improve it! after interviewing for their internship position just two days earlier.

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The Best Improvisers Aren't On the Stage, They're in the Office

The Best Improvisers Aren't On the Stage, They're in the Office

If you asked me, point blank, who are better improvisers - the people i work with in my "comedy" life or the people I work with in my "career" life, I wouldn't even have to hesitate. The "careers" have it.

Hear me out.

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How improve it!’s workshop pushed me to step out of my comfort zone

How improve it!’s workshop pushed me to step out of my comfort zone

How does one step out of their comfort zone? As a young woman, I’m always looking to stay within my comfort zone and stick with what I’m good at. I am definitely not one to raise my hand in class or spit out the ideas in my head. Instead, I sit there wondering if my idea was good enough and if I should even share my opinion. Improve it!’s public workshop certainly helped to push me out of my comfort zone and into the real world of improv, where effective communication and confidence is key.

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How improve it!’s Workshop helped me Conquer my Fear of Public Speaking

How improve it!’s Workshop helped me Conquer my Fear of Public Speaking

Public speaking. We’ve all done it and at times hate it, especially me. I’m that girl who stumbles her words, sweats profusely, and shakes as if I were holding a pair of maracas. Talking in front of people is something I’ve never been comfortable doing, but it’s something I know I can’t avoid. Everyone always tells me, “The more you do it, the better you get at it,” which is why I decided to try improv during improve it!’s public workshop.

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What My Mother’s Italian Cooking Taught Me about Sales and Improv

What My Mother’s Italian Cooking Taught Me about Sales and Improv

Every year around the holidays my mother, Mama Booth, slaves away in the kitchen for hours preparing a feast for the entire family and friends; appetizers, mains, desserts, the whole shebang.  Every year, she complains after the meal that she’ll never do it again, and yet the following year, she’s back in the kitchen trying out new recipes in an attempt to outdo herself.  Mama Booth is the master of large Italian meals.  She succeeds because she’s not afraid to take risks and always leaves us wanting more.  If you want to succeed in sales and improv, take some notes from Mama Booth.

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Diary of a Mad Business Woman / Improviser

Diary of a Mad Business Woman / Improviser

It’s 2:15 PM on a Wednesday.  Your body has molded to your chair and your mind has gone into hibernation mode.  Such sweet slumber.  Suddenly the shrill ring of your phone jars you awake, your email is invaded by marching red flags, all marked “Urgent”, and your calendar dings a 15 minute warning about the quarterly meeting with your boss.  The list of tasks is staggering and the weight of responsibility is overwhelming.  What are you to do?

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Four Ways Improv Can Make You a Better Networker

Four Ways Improv Can Make You a Better Networker

You just moved to a new city where you are out of your comfort zone, nervous and alone.  It’s your first day at your new job, and you think you’ve accepted a role that you aren’t quite qualified for.  Or maybe you’ve just started a new graduate program and your teacher assigned you a challenging group project.

In all of these situations, you want to build not only a professional network but a new social circle.  Where in the world do you start? Here are four ways the art of improvisation can help you overcome your fears, make connections and establish new relationships, all while having fun in the process. Networking is really NETing a new outcome based on the WORK you put in. Follow these four simple tips to help jump start the process:

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"Tell Me About Yourself." The Dreaded Interview Question and How Improv Can Help!

"Tell Me About Yourself." The Dreaded Interview Question and How Improv Can Help!

“So, tell me a little about yourself.” The dreaded open-ended interview question.  It’s inevitable.  I shift in my seat, cough, and then drone on in a prepared statement about my qualifications, effectively reciting my cover letter by memory.  “I AM A HUMAN FEMALE WHO ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND FROM TWO THOUSAND AND EIGHT TO TWO THOUSAND AND TWELVE…”  Everything I’m saying is true, but I watch in horror as the interviewer’s eyes glaze over, the corners of their mouth twist into a forced smile, and they sigh, preparing to power through the rest of the interview.

I consider myself to be a somewhat interesting human being, so why do I lose all personality and sense of self when answering this question?  I truly struggled with this before I started improvising, but I no longer fear it after applying these three simple improv rules. 

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An evening with improve it! (An Inside Glimpse into our Q3 Public Workshop)

An evening with improve it! (An Inside Glimpse into our Q3 Public Workshop)

A smiling and well dressed gentleman greets you as you arrive for an evening of improvisation, networking and experiential learning. You are then whisked to a private elevator that leads you to a gorgeous retail warehouse and office in Chicago's dapper West Loop neighborhood.

Upon exiting the elevator, you are greeted by more kind faces, provided snacks and a notebook, and surrounded by a room full of smiling strangers. You have an idea of what is in store for the next hour and a half, and you mix-and-mingle with other successful professionals before the workshop begins.

 

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Taking Creative Risks with the "Ladies in Logistics"

Taking Creative Risks with the "Ladies in Logistics"

Last week we had the opportunity to work with the awesome "Ladies in Logistics" at Load Delivered Logistics! These women relaxed into the evening with cheese and wine, and then jumped right into our hour and a half session on taking initiative and creative risks. 

You may be thinking to yourself, "what does it mean to take creative risks?" Although these ladies can now tell you what it means (and risks they did take, just by participating in our workshop)! but here is what taking creative risks means to us. Taking creative risks  means creating a safe environment in which people are willing to communicate in different ways, seeing creative inspiration differently by taking a step back and seeing others' point of view, and helping individuals understand that being a leader and taking initiative works in a dynamic way that is always changing. 

These gals were a blast to work with, and we are so grateful to have seen what risks they could take in our short period of time together. Thank you for a fun, thought-provoking and entertaining ladies night! You inspire us! 

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Team Building with Youth from WorldChicago

Team Building with Youth from WorldChicago

Last week we worked with WorldChicago, an organization that facilitates professional and personal interactions for international leaders during official visits to Chicago through U.S. Department of State exchange programs.

We worked specifically with their youth delegation from South Korea and Japan to enhance this all female group's comradery during their two week stay in Chicago. This group was brought to Chicago to develop a community program to take back and implement in their own communities. We found these women to be supportive, imaginative and know that this great group of women will go on to be top leaders in whatever field they so choose!

This group of young woman surprised us with how creative and fearless they were from the beginning to the very end of the workshop. We could not have been more honored to be a part of their Chicago experience and wish them nothing but the best in their future endeavors!

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