Picture a group of mature business people learning the Art of Improv. Improv is a theatre genre that encourages quick thinking in the moment. The exercise I'm remembering involved one in each pair talking gibberish, and the other talking English. The 'dare' was to have a meaningful conversation when you can't understand the linguistics of the other! It was a bit bonkers...
...except it wasn't. We really began to tune into everything that wasn't the words. I was learning something new, and I liked it.
Thus I would like to share some lessons from the Art of Improv with you, with a view to creating joy in our lives. Are you up for that? No quick fixes here – just proven techniques to improve our quality of life.
The first (of seven) principles is, "Yes, And..."
In a "No, But..." Society, "Yes, And..." is a breath of fresh air.
In Improv, the principle is used to accept everything someone says on stage – to say, "Yes!" to it just the way it is... And then to augment it with something that adds additional value. It is not using "Yes!" as an excuse to steer the conversation in our own chosen direction. It is "Yes!" in the fullness of embracing and appreciating fully the other person's worldview.
This can be challenging! I LOVE the way this takes the focus off 'Me' in the conversation and puts it fully on the 'Other'. I've been using it with my kids, with Penelope, and in business networking. My discoveries are that it gets me listening at a much deeper level – getting out of myself and into the 'us' of the connection (a welcome relief from feeling low).
A word to the wise though, if your partner says, "Darling, does my bum look big in this?" Don't answer like I did: "Yes, And..." the rest was interesting!
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