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Embracing Improv at Work
January 28, 2016
Improv comedy is actually pretty easy!
Once you learn to relax and trust yourself, trust your partners, and trust the process of saying or doing the next obvious/funny thing, the comedy and storytelling emerge magically and effortlessly. The tools of improvisation are designed to tap into the most present, generous and brave version of yourself – the one who takes risks, gets things done and has fun doing them.
Okay, maybe it's not EASY. But it's pretty simple: Spend some time learning how to get out of your own head and out of your own way, and everything you do will be more effective and more enjoyable.
When the Hideout Theatre started fifteen years ago, improv was still uncharted territory for training and team building. Now it's one of the hottest training methods out there. Every week new articles are coming out about top companies and business schools using improv and the real science backing up this deceptively enjoyable style of professional development.
In those fifteen years the Hideout has worked with hundreds of top companies (including Google, Dell, Spiceworks, Whole Foods Market, Seton, Gartner, BCG and National Instruments) and built up one of the strongest applied improvisation practices in the United States. The groups we work with don't just have an amazing time (they always do) but they also see serious ROI in terms of employee satisfaction, reduced turnover, more efficient teams and better overall communication. Every week we help shy people speak up, aggressive team members give space and listen, and colleagues begin to trust each other and the group.
"They had us laughing and playing and working together all in a way that perfectly lends itself to the challenges of our jobs."
-Steph Steele, Flagship Store Team Leader at Whole Foods Market
The tools we use are simple: We ask you to have fun, because it makes learning easier. We ask you to practice taking risks in a safe space because you'll quickly realize it's not so scary. We ask you to say yes to your partners' ideas because you'll appreciate it when they say yes to yours. And at the end of two hours, or a half-day or six months of improv training, your team will be operating from a more authentic and connected place, ready to play hard and perform at the highest levels.
"At first, everyone (myself included) was stiff and a bit awkward. By the end of it, we were having such a great time and making so much noise that non-participating employees started to complain! It was a total transformation in the space of two hours."