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Building Better Teams With Improv

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 I watched the television show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” when I was younger. In it, four people (typically comedians) were given short prompts to create one-liners, skits, and songs. The catch is that everything was made up on the spot, and it was hilarious. This kind of “in the moment” comedy is called improv (short for ‘improvisational comedy’). In my own life I’ve been in and out of the improv world for the past three years, and what I can say is this: improv makes you a better, faster thinker, and it strengthens teams like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.

 

 

 

Below are some quick-read materials that describe how taking improv workshops can:

In case those articles didn’t persuade you to consider trying an improv workshop, I decided to expand on that list with the results of some analyses I conducted. In particular, I reviewed and thematically analyzed client testimonials of several business-related improv workshops that I found online. Some benefits that employees took away from participating in improv workshops are included to elaborate on the extracted themes in the lists below.

 

Communication

  • helped us enhance communication
  • helped our managers improve their communication skills
  • learned how to better communicate with each other
  • we have gotten better at listening to, and building on, others’ ideas

Coworker Relationships

  • got to know each other better
  • helped bring everyone together
  • helped us examine how we interact
  • helped to better understand people, emotions, and body language
  • helped us enhance group trust
  • broke down barriers

Dynamic/Interactive

  • fun, hands-on approach
  • insights came from participating rather than observing

Newness/Novelty

  • never done anything like it before
  • offered a different perspective
  • exercises bring you out of your comfort zone
  • whole new way of thinking
  • developed new skills
  • something different and fresh
  • a change from the norm
  • eye-opening

Reinvention

  • looking forward to making personal changes
  • allowed me to break and shake off old habits
  • releases inhibitions
  • felt challenged
  • grew confidence

Teamwork

  • working together is easier now
  • ideas flow faster
  • problems are solved with no problem
  • helped us enhance teamwork
  • valuable to our team
  • walked away with a fresh look at how we work together

 

I really can’t speak highly enough of improv. If anything here has piqued your interest, I would strongly encourage you to look for improv classes or workshops in your area, as well as consult this directory of improv-related games and references. However, if improv doesn’t seem to resonate with you or your organization—yet you’re interested in different ways to build a better team—I would recommend downloading our free e-book on the subject. It contains a large variety of team-building ideas and exercises that can help cultivate stronger teams to make your organization an even better place to work.

 

Free ebook! 50 Team Building Ideas to Engage Employees

 

Photo by cwseed.com

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