A while ago, Sue (my business partner) and I joined an Improvisation Comedy group here in Melbourne, Australia.
Sue is pretty good at it, but it’s way out of my comfort zone because I can’t act or sing.
So why put myself through the ordeal of dying on stage on a weekly basis?
Well, it’s a challenge and it is fun.
It also puts me in the mindset of a beginner, which is absolutely essential for any one who delivers presentations or teaches a group of people.
This beginner ‘feeling’ is something I try to tap into when I work with people, because it reinforces the need to use empathy and encouragement when it comes to trying new activities.
For example, in my case, it’s encouraging groups such as students, teachers and executives, etc. to have a go at Tai Chi.
An activity that is usually new and therefore a challenge for many people.
Another delight of doing improv has been discovering how similar the skills are to those that presenters, trainers, speakers and teachers use to be effective in their work.
Those skills include:
• Being flexible
• Thinking on your feet
• Accepting what others have to offer
• Helping others to become involved
• Going with the flow
• Being creative
• Having fun
So, why not have a go at improv or any other activity that challenges you and puts you in the ‘beginner mindset’?
If you do, then as a ‘beginner’ you will become more professional and effective in your own presentations.
First published in StarLink – Oct 2006