When you hear the word “improv,” you probably envision those brave actors who get up in front of a live audience—without a script, without a plan—and somehow pull together a scene out of thin air that makes people laugh.
But it turns out improv skills aren’t just about comedy. Becoming a skilled improvisor can be a huge asset in business, not to mention other high stakes environments like sports, combat, and even in social situations.
In this episode, my guest Bob Kulhan shares how the fundamental principles of improv can help skyrocket your success at work. We talk about how learning to observe and think more quickly on your feet can improve your influence, leadership skills, and even the morale and productivity of a team.
Improv is the ability to relax enough to let your natural intelligence come to the surface so that you are performing at the top of your intelligence in that moment.”
Bob Kulhan is an Adjunct Professor of Business Administration for The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University as well as an Adjunct Professor of Business for Columbia Business School, Columbia University. He also is the Founder & CEO of Business Improv®, a world-class leader in developing experiential learning programs for businesses. He is also the author of Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv.
For 25 years Bob has performed and taught improvisation internationally at such places as Chicago’s famed Second City, Improv Olympic , Columbia College, London TheaterSports, The Banff Centre, The Australian Graduate School of Management, Koç University in Istanbul, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA Anderson School of Management, Columbia University Business School and more. Since 1998, his business Improvisation programs have served bluechip clients like GOOGLE, PepsiCo, American Express, Capital One, Ford Motor Company, Procter & Gamble, the US Department of Defense, the US Naval Academy, just to name a few.
Improvisation thrives at the pivotal moment when planning and strategy meets execution.”
- Why improv is often misunderstood
- The baggage around “team building” improv in business
- The real-world value of improvisation in other environments like sports, combat and social situations
- How the core improve technique “yes and” works in business
- Why “yes and” makes brainstorming sessions far more productive
- Separating divergent thinking from convergent thinking
- “Think slow to move fast”
- How a “yes and” philosophy can help improve your personal brand
- How “yes and” technique can help you manage conflict
- Becoming an agent of change for yourself in an unsupportive office culture
- Business Improv
- Getting to Yes And: The Art of Business Improv
- The iO Theater (formerly Improv Olympic)
- The Annoyance Theater
- The Second City