Tips on using improv and interactive games for training:
One of the biggest fears of anyone is speaking in front of others.
Quadruple that fear with the fear of looking stupid while speaking
in front of others. Basically you then have improvisation. So
you must break down those fears by using large easy risk free
games in the beginning. YOU must play too. Get everyone use to
being up in front of each other and speaking to one another. Use
easy ice breakers or exercises that get the participants talking
- FAILURE is a good thing.
You must win. You must be successful. Not in improvisation. And
not in life. If we did not fail how would we know when we won
? Did you ever watch the Carol Burnett Show ? I was always waiting
to see if Tim Conway could crack any of the other cast up and
make them mess up their lines. It’s fun to see people fail.
Participants must know that we are all going to mess up and that
we are all human. There are no bad ideas ! Successful improv relies
on the fact that your ideas will be accepted and that you will
accept whatever ideas your fellow performers come up with. Mistakes
happen in life and in improv mistakes can be the best part of
- TRUSTING EACH OTHER.
Trust that no one will laugh at you when you are not trying to
be funny. Trust that your brainstorm idea will be taken and used
with everyone else’s. Trust that the rest of your team will
be there for you. Building trust is all about building common
ground, rapport and having empathy to one another. You must be
the foundation and trust them.
- ENCOURAGE RISK
Risk to one person may be using a flavored creamer in their morning
coffee and to another person risk may be bungee jumping off a
cliff in the Dells. Although the definition of risk is as individual
as the person you must encourage each participant to test their
limits. To help them do what they think they cannot do. Encouraging
risk while maintaining a sense of safety.
We are taught from an early age that we must censor ourselves.
We must watch what we say. We can spend so much time judging ourselves
that we cripple our creativity (and happiness). In improvisation
there is no time to critique or evaluate. You must create in the
- BEING ONSTAGE
When you do any interactive exercise that does not involve the
whole group then you need a “ stage “ area and those
who are not on the stage are the audience. The Fourth Wall is
the imaginary line that separates the audience from the actor.
The performers should perform all their mimed activity or space
work at the Fourth Wall. Your audience wants to see your face
as you open the refrigerator, unlock the safe or help Mrs. Plimpton
back to her recliner. Also your participants need to be aware
of the volume of their voice so everyone can hear. And let’s
not forget to applaud courage and creativity!
- HOW TO COACH
Coaching in improv to me is like helping someone learn how to
ride a bike. You don’t sit on the seat for them. You don’t
take over the handlebars if you don’t like where they are
going or start pedaling if you don’t like how fast they
are going. You DO run along side of them and give them tips, reminders
and praise. You DO reach out and steady them once in a while.
You DO hold on and them let go without them knowing. But then
other times you let them go and let them thing fall over, so they
can get back on and try again.
Lead them to look at the situation in a new way. To heighten or
to intensify the situation. Tell them to expand on that idea or
go further with that feeling.
It is supposed to be.
Talkers are no good doers.
~ William Shakespeare, "Henry IV"