Consulting made funny?

Andrea Howe
Category : Consulting, Featured blogs, Improvisation November 1, 2007

“Think improv comedy is just for laughs? Think again. It’s fertile training ground for dealing with the unexpected – you know, like in a sales conversation, when a client asks a zinger that you never saw coming. I discovered the magic of improv comedy a few years ago when I decided it was time to learn how to get past the “frozen-ness” I felt when something like that happened to me.

I got lots and lots of practice on that improv comedy stage! And my eyes also opened wide to so many parallels between what it takes to be an extraordinary improv comedian and what it takes to be an extraordinary consultant.

Improv comedy is comedy that’s made up completely on the spot, based on audience suggestions. Like the hi-jinx on the TV show, Whose Line is it, Anyway. Extraordinary improv comedians are masterful at:

  • Teamwork and collaboration. An improv comedy stage is a completely level playing field. There are no hierarchies, no titles. It’s all about working together towards a common goal.
  • Decision-making. Being completely in the moment makes it possible to act on information provided on the spot.
  • Innovation. Turning off the inner editor allows creative thoughts to flow without inhibition. There is no such thing as “analysis paralysis” among successful improv comedians.
  • Adaptability. Being flexible; bringing humor and ease to a constantly changing environment; dealing with the unexpected.
  • Listening and focus. Improv comedy takes active listening to a whole new level. Accepting and adding to an “offer” is essential.
  • Being of service. Improv comedy requires that you check your ego at the door and truly be of service to others; it’s all about making them look good.
  • Trust. Improv comedians create a profound connection with each other – the foundation that makes an extraordinary performance possible. They know and believe their fellow improv-ers “have their back” and therefore take action from a place of confidence and faith.

See any links to the world of professional services? I’d say there are a few.

Has anyone out there used improv comedy to sharpen your consulting skills?

Originally published by BossaNova Consulting Group, Inc.
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Andrea Howe

Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).

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