Improv, buzzers, and Workshop

by | Nov 22, 2020 | Change


One of the rules of improv is the ‘Yes, and’ rule. The idea here is to accept whatever your partner said and build on it rather than rejecting it. One of the skills we learn in improv is to limit our self-editing and go with the flow more.

Mock the Week is a news comedy show popular in our house. In the wheel of news, they are told to put ‘hands on buzzers please’. The wheel spins and whoever pushes their buzzer first starts of a comedic telling of the news picture of that week. Most people push the buzzer before they see what the picture is. And then find out what the picture is and make up the story. You see similar order in various game shows – buzzers are pushed first, then answers are determined.

Workshops – online or in person – need more of this behaviour. Workshops are about learning, not being right. And learning happens when we engage, assert our ideas, when we say ‘yes, and…’ and when limit our self-editing. Our work improves when we share it, listen to the reaction of others, and improve on it.

Improv does not work if someone doesn’t start they story and set the scene. Mock the Week and game shows do not work if no one presses the buzzer. We don’t improve if never share our ideas. When you’re on stage or in a workshop, engagement is key. Make assertions, it’s your turn. You are not a bystander, you are a participant.

Do the work. Push the buzzer.

Tomorrow’s the last day to join the Responsible Organisation WORKshop. Come join the others


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