Improv and Story to help you in life and work

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —October 4, 2006
Filed in Business storytelling

In a previous post Izzy Gesell and I asked the question How can one improvise in a virtual world?

Why do you care?

Maybe you don’t but with our upcoming virtual workshop on October 10th being a taster for our “Change your story Change your world” program running with Izzy across the Australian eastern seaboard in November, we certainly do!

This morning Izzy, myself, Carla and one other brave participant experienced how improv games feeeeel in a teleconference kind of environment.

For Izzy, the 3 foundational skills of improv are Presence (showing up and being present, focus), Acceptance (remaining in the present) and Trust. In our teleconference today we ran with a few improv games which help to illustrate these foundational skills. The three games we played were “the one word story”, “the counting game” and “Yes…and”. Even with four of us, we had a lot of fun.

Three learnings I came to were:

  • 1. Be prepared to provide more support for people in this ‘virtual’ environment – Unlike an event in real time and space, in a virtual environment one needs to be mindful of participants frustrations and how to lessen the burden 
  • 2. Lag on teleconferences may provide a “gift” to consider for how rhythm is created within these kinds of group interactions
  • 3. Even Improv has structure – As Izzy keeps telling us “If creativity fails, go back to technique”

If you’d like to learn more about how Improv and Storytelling can help you in life and work, come along to the virtual workshop on October 10th 10am. There are still some places left, AND it’s free!

About  Andrew Rixon


  1. Tracey Weiland says:

    From the “other brave participant”: One of the learnings that I arrived at is that the virtual environment frees us up to practice the art of listening. In the face-to-face environment we rely so much on visuo-social cues when listening that the message of the spoken word gets lost. The virtual teleconference environment forces us to abandon these habits and opens up a new opportunity to truly excerise our listening brain. This requires “being in moment” with the speaker and taps into one of Izzy’s fundamentals for improv: Be present, focus. So, in a way, the virtual environment thrusts us into the here and now.

  2. Izzy Gesell says:

    One of sensations I felt duing our teleseminar was a feeling of concern whether it was going to work or not. I realize this is the same feeling many folks new to improv have. It is certainly a lot easier to tell them to let go of the need to know the outcome than it is to tell myself that same advice. It is about trusting the process and allowing it to find its own level.
    There is a rhythm and flow that occurs when people in visual or physical contact are in sync with each other. Now, with so much work being done virtually, the challenge is to find ways to find that flow in an entirely new set of stimulii.
    One thought that comes to mind is to use a cam. I wonder if there is a technology that allows folks to see all the others in this kind of set up.

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