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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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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New Hires at Mesirow Financial "improve" their Presentation Skills!

New Hires at Mesirow Financial "improve" their Presentation Skills!

We had a blast yesterday with the recent hires at Mesirow Financial in our Presentation Skills workshop. These guys got out of their comfort zones and were fantastic participants from start to finish. For some, it was their very first day on the job! We'd like to this think it was a first day they will NEVER forget!

These guys were positive, thought outside of the box and used story-telling to improve their presentation skills. These "superheroes" created abstract stories, practiced the art of saying "Yes"  and mastered the art of the "Chicken Dance." We were so happy to be a part of this experience. Thanks so much for having us, and best wishes to this talented group. You guys, rock!

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Improv to the Rescue! How Improv Can Save You in a Meeting When You're Unprepared

Improv to the Rescue! How Improv Can Save You in a Meeting When You're Unprepared

After back-to-back client meetings, my boss hung up the phone, looked at me, and said, “let’s eat.” It had been a productive, albeit very tiring morning full of meetings and negotiations and we both needed to get some lunch before continuing on with the day.  What I forgot was that I blocked off my lunch hour in order to prepare for an operations meeting that was occurring in the afternoon.

Instead of checking in with my team and seeing where the progress on a project stood, I was enjoying a bowl of chicken chili, a green smoothie, and talking with my boss about the NHL Playoffs. 

How many times has this happened to us? Where a meeting runs over and we don’t have time to prepare? Or, let’s be honest, we simply forget that we had a meeting? It’s happened to me more than a few times.

Rather than letting our unpreparedness set us up for failure, here are a holster of improv tactics that will not only make you look completely ready, but also allow you to effectively participate, stay present, and add value in any business meeting...

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How to Use Improv to Network Like a Pro

How to Use Improv to Network Like a Pro

By Guest Blogger: Chuck Feerick

There is a very small subset of people who get excited when they look at a meeting agenda and see the dreaded “Network and Cocktails” time slot. Before beginning improv, excited was the last word that came to mind when I thought about networking. My initial response was usually, “I hope I can find a group of people I know to go with” or “I hope something good is happening on Twitter so I can spend the next hour playing on my phone.” Neither of these options helps to make any new connections.

There is a better way to make it through a networking event, and a way that can actually lead to making some new friends or identifying business opportunities. What if networking events could actually be fun? Well, they can be if you embrace some of these general improv techniques that will help you get rid of the anxiety, make new friends, and most importantly, have FUN at your next event!

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