Want To Improve Your Presentation Skills? Take Improv!
In April, I talked Charlie into taking a beginner level improv class at OTR Improv in Cincinnati. Let’s just say he was less than enthusiastic but I was adamant even though it’s been awhile since I’ve taken a class.
After the first class, I asked him, “so what do you think?” ”It’s okay but what’s the point? It’s all made up. Plus I’m really uncomfortable up there.”
True, it is all made up but there is a point. There’s actually a few points and why I recommend that everyone take an improv class, especially people that have never taken an acting class.
- Getting Used to the Spotlight | Let’s face it, most corporate jobs require very little time in the spotlight. We spend a lot of time working from home, sitting in meetings and getting work done. We have little opportunity to actually get up in front of a group, so that when the time comes, it can feel really intimidating. Improv sneaks you into the spotlight with other beginners, plus you get applause regardless of how bad the scene went! A win win!
- Creativity unleashed | Yeah, you have to make stuff up but you have to make it up fast. Extemporaneous speaking is a muscle that needs to be exercised and we don’t always get the chance. Improv helps you learn that you can always make a scene happen. It gives you confidence. It helps you think on your feet. So the next time you’re in a meeting and someone throws you a curve, you’ll be better prepared to come up with an answer!
- Yes and! It’s all about collaboration | One of the cornerstones of improv is the ability to say YES to whatever a scene partner throws your way, otherwise the scene falls flat. Improv teaches you to let go of your personal agenda and go with what’s happening in the scene. If you’re jugglers in the circus, don’t try to switch to gamblers in Vegas! Next time you’re at work, think about going with what’s happening instead of fighting against it (or complaining after the meeting). Collaboration gets work done much faster.
- You have to Lighten Up! |I’ve never had an improv class that ended in a bad mood. It’s three hours of laughs and fun. Playing Zombie tag to learn participants names may sound stupid in theory but I guarantee you will have fun when you’re in the middle of it. Where else can you unleash all your craziness and be applauded?! Think about how lightening the mood at work could help with everyone’s morale. Be the change….
We had to miss the last class to go to the Publicity Summit which made me sad. However, Charlie had to admit that it was a good experience. So the next time you feel like honing your speaking skills, don’t take another presentation skills class, take an improv class instead and see where it takes you! By the way, I’m signing us up for the next round!
Eva Lewandowski MBA, is a certified Life Coach, certified EFT Practitioner, seminar leader, speaker and co-host of a weekly internet radio show “Corporate Talk with Charlie and Eva”. She is also a 30 year veteran of Corporate America as an IT consultant. Using the skills she learned in acting classes, life coaching and EFT certification training as well as her struggle with debilitating stage fright, she created, Stand Up and Be Heard!, a program that teaches professionals how to overcome their fear of the spotlight. She is also the author of “Put on Your Phone Face: Tips and Techniques for teleconferences and conference calls”.