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Improv and creativity – time to say yes, and….

by | Sep 14, 2020

Our awesome Now Go Create facilitator, writer and performer extraordinaire Max Dickins has a new book out and a piece in GQ online on how we can all benefit from the principles of improv at work and how improv and creativity are marvellous bedfellows.

“We are forever having to throw away our script and react and adapt to the unexpected, especially at work, when we innovate new products, solve new problems, work with new people. In fact, almost all of our communication is improvised.” Max 

Here are his top 3 tips:

1. Notice and respond to what is actually there

Everyone thinks that improvisation is about speaking. Here’s a tip: if you want to think on your feet better in conversations or communicate better with anyone at all, stop thinking about it as a speaking challenge and focus instead on becoming a better listener.
How do you know someone has listened to you? It’s by what they do with what you’ve said. Improvisers define listening, then, as “the willingness to be changed”. To connect with anyone, don’t just listen to their words, let them truly land on you and change your response.
2. Think ‘Yes, and…’
“Yes, and” is all about accepting and building off your teammates ideas. On stage it is a technique that allows improvisers to quickly and reliably create comedy. It also takes the pressure off. It’s not about trying to be funny; it’s about being a good scene partner – to make them look good by exploring their ideas and have them return the favour. This technique is also useful off-stage if you want to have more creative meetings. See a video of Max with his improv collaborator the fab Katy Schutte in action below. 

3. Everything is an offer

When you improvise, things often don’t go to plan. Mistakes get made and curveballs get thrown. Improvisers use the word “offer” to describe ideas of opportunities that pop up in scenes. But improvisers treat everything as an offer – even the screw-ups. Something goes wrong and we ask: “How can we use this?”  We soon discover our errors can move us into interesting and profitable areas we never would have got into without them – they have serendipitous power. Read more from Max here.  

Max is one of our Now Go Create team of subject expert facilitators and trainers and the author of Improvise! Use The Secrets Of Improv To Achieve Extraordinary Results At Work. Learn more about the book here

Contact us if you’d like to take part in one of his storytelling or presenting workshops with us – all running online right now. 


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