How many entrepreneurs go through their whole day as if it was an improv skit? Things change—you shift. I learned the following principles from Sue Walden—Improv teacher extraordinaire! Take a look at the excerpt from “PressHere.” It’s a San Francisco Bay area news program about technology. Sue’s been helping Ask.com improve their business with improv skills.
Here are Sue’s rules:
Rule #1: Accept the Offer
If an actor in improv says, “We’re back in the Amazon jungle” the other actors must accept it as reality. They can’t say, “No we’re in an ice cream store.” You need to accept the offer.
Rule #2: Yes and
This incorporates the rule of accept the offer while requiring that the actor build on it and what’s been offered. The importance of this rule cannot be over emphasized. Improv simply goes nowhere without it, for without it no coherent story will ever emerge and the cast of players will never truly become a team.
Rule #3: Adapt your Role to the Reality
You must believe genuinely that various roles are truly appropriate at different times. You must practice being in the moment with people and you must possess the skills to play different roles authentically.
Rule #4: Be Generous Towards Others
The best way to look at this is to have a focus on making everyone look good.
A great skill to practice on a regular basis is Rule #2—Yes…and. It’s not a “Yes…but” – it’s a way to accept what has been said and build on it.