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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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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American Marketing Association's Kick Off Event

American Marketing Association's Kick Off Event

On Thursday morning of last week, we were honored to be a part of American Marketing Association's Kick Off Event at the Hard Rock Hotel in downtown Chicago with all 70 internal employees! Five improve it! improvisers from a mixture of our teams helped facilitate: Max & Patrick from Knuckleball, Cristy & Sam from The Spotty Truth and Stephanie from Stranger!

We helped kick off AMA'S move to their new space by providing our Team Building workshop. Throughout the course of the two hours, an Improv Chicken Champions were crowned,  new products were invented, and the buzz word of the day was "YES!" These guys were a fantastic team who truly support their peers and know what it means to "show up" for one another.

We had a blast and are looking forward to seeing what other amazing things this organization will do! We think it's safe to say that American Marketing Association rocks! YES, you do!

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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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improve it! Challenge #3 "Collaboration"

improve it! Challenge #3 "Collaboration"

Welcome to the improve it! challenge! This challenge is all about collaboration and validating others' thoughts and ideas.

Here's how to play: 

1) Watch this 38 second video for this week's challenge
2) Tell us how you used "yes, and" to validate another person's thoughts and offered up a suggestion to take the conversation to the next level.
3) On Friday, September 11th  a winner will be chosen based off their response and highlighted on our social media pages. 

*In addition, all winners will receive a spot for themselves and three friends in our Q4 Public Workshop as well as receive a $10.00 Starbucks gift card.*

We look forward to hearing your results!

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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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improve it! Public Workshop

improve it! Public Workshop

On Wednesday, November 19th we held our first workshop open to the public at Robert Morris University, entitled "Use Improv to Improve Your Soft Skills." Participants in this unique and exciting workshop got out of their comfort zones, and discovered the impact that improvisation techniques can have on their communication skills and overall professional presence!

In our two hour workshop, guests participated in an interactive lecture and series of improvisation-based exercises led by one of our improv teams, Knuckleball. Everyone gave 100%, supported one another, and had a blast in the process. 

By the end of the workshop participants practiced how to use verbal and non-verbal techniques to enhance interpersonal communication skills, how to more quickly build rapport, and how to establish trust with others. 

We will have more workshops open to the public in 2015. Stay tuned for more updates!

 

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