Program Description

Forbes, CNN, NPR, and Inc. Magazine have all reported that using improvisation techniques improves communication skills. Improv techniques teach people to react and adapt quickly to unanticipated events, stay in the moment, listen attentively, and “think on their feet.” Improv promotes creativity, innovation and leadership abilities. Participants learn to listen to what is said by someone else, accept what has been said, and then build upon that idea. Improvisation techniques empower leaders to develop creative strategies to solve complex problems so that participants learn how to trust their instincts and become better communicators. And it’s fun!

This ½ day program is designed for up to 30 participants.
February 2016, Location TBD.

Entertainment industry professionals Bill Timoney and Georgette Reilly Timoney (whose experience includes Broadway, regional theater, and TV sitcoms) facilitate this unique program. Please see attached bios.

Jeff Black and his Black Sheep consultants have worked in twenty countries, offering facilitating, coaching, and keynotes for all levels of leadership. Clients include GE, Lockheed Martin, American Airlines, Genpact, NBC Universal, Home Depot, Bank of America, Lloyds of London, Roche, Notre Dame, Accenture, Capgemini, and M&M Mars.

Pilot Facilitators: Bill Timoney and Georgette Reilly Timoney

Program Objectives

  • Practice thinking on your feet
  • Maximize team member participation through enhanced listening and responding
  • Build trust and reliance on fellow members to contribute to a shared objective
  • Experience the value of positive approaches to brainstorming when faced with complex problems requiring innovative solutions
  • Develop techniques for successfully responding to challenges and unanticipated turns of events without hesitation
Improvisation – Listen, Acknowledge, Respond, Presentation of Improv Concepts

This highly interactive session begins with warm-up improvisational exercises intended to enhance each participant’s ability to listen, acknowledge and respond in the moment. The exercises release inhibitions and build trust by focusing on movement, sound, eye contact and immediacy.

Exercise 1 – Label

Each participant demonstrates a gesture to pair with their name making themselves memorable to the new group. This exercise will also demonstrate how to remember names in any setting.

Each exercise is followed by a discussion where participants share their observations and discoveries. The facilitator will also provide insight, feedback and additional real-world applications of the improvisation exercise’s takeaways.

When working on a group project, people sometimes hesitate to share their ideas. In this empowering module, participants learn to respond successfully to unanticipated turns of events without hesitation.

Exercise 2 – Our Story

One improviser begins a story with a single word. Then, one at a time, each participant adds a word to the story that makes grammatical and contextual sense. This exercise requires the participants to listen without anticipating or interrupting.

Part two of this challenge involves “Yes, and.” In this round, each participant will add a sentence to the story that begins with the words “Yes, and…”

The foundation of improvisation is based on the concept that improvisers will always agree to whatever idea or situation is put before them. In other words, there is no such thing as “No” in improvisation. For example, if someone says “I have a broom in my hand.” The next person can’t say, “That’s not a broom, that’s an oar.” But they can say, “I’ve never seen someone steer a boat with a broom before.” It is in this context that the value of a workplace culture based on “Yes” is revealed.

In this module, participants will deal with a variety of situations where they must accept the reality of a scene and then work together to move that scene forward. This requires concentration, commitment, and an ability to remain open to any and all possibilities in order to succeed.

Exercise 3 – “Where ‘Ya Been?”

Two participants assume the roles of teenage siblings who have stayed out after curfew. The facilitator assumes the role of the parent, asking, “Where ‘ya been?”

Each participant contributes one element to their cover story, until the pair have created a plausible tale that the parent accepts. The story must build upon each other’s contributions. Just as the “siblings” must listen to each other in order to quickly build a plausible story, the participants discover the strength of collaboration.

Improv techniques recalibrate the human brain to override the “inner editor” that often prevents the best ideas from getting said.

Exercise 4 – “The Park Bench of Truth”

Two people sit together and improvise a scene based on suggestions from the other participants. By applying the rules of improvisation the participants intuitively and effortlessly create the scene without prior discussion.