Improv, Networking, and The Freedom of Not Knowing What Comes Next
Last night I participated in Funny Business. Ok that came out wrong… I went to a workshop called ‘Funny Business’ at the Finest City Improv Theater here in San Diego, and let me just say… I had a blast! I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt… yep they still hurt.
So what was so great about this workshop, and why am I writing about it?
Well, for starters it was different. I didn’t have to stand around and try to scan the room to figure out who I might be able to talk with to make a connection; they did that for me. In fact, they helped me make a connection with everyone in the room
It reminded me of playing Cranium, Pictionary, or Taboo with friends. We would talk about how funny it was the way so-and-so drew that duck or how no one could figure out what one person was trying to hum. Each time we played, even though it was the same game, we made new memories.
This workshop and the exercises we did—actually I think it’s better to call them games— helped us all make memories together. And making memories with a group of complete strangers is way more fun than standing in a room and trying to start conversations.
The best part about the games we played was that you found yourself becoming more confident in having no idea what would come next. In today’s world where we are always striving for control, and are in a constant state of planning and appointment setting, the acceptance of not knowing what comes next was downright liberating.
[tweetthis]The acceptance of not knowing what comes next can be downright liberating.[/tweetthis]
We played this one particular game where you have to step into the center of a circle and quickly make a pose, and then someone in the group will come and take your place. I remember standing there trying to quickly think of a pose that I could do, and suddenly I realized that I had only ventured out into the circle once. I had missed participating because instead of just jumping in, I was thinking too much.
Then Amy Lisewski, the owner of The Finest City Improv, said something that really stuck with me. She said that the most important part of the exercise was simply to take that first step into the circle. She then challenged us to take that first step before we actually knew what pose we might take. This second half of the exercise meant that we would have to trust our instincts, and trust those around us, which is not always an easy thing to do.
So it turns out that I love improv. I love how it challenges me to step out of my comfort zone.
I love how it requires me to use my body as well as my words. I love how it makes me realize that the act of having fun helps me connect with others. I love how it teaches you to work as a team and listen to one another. And most of all, I love how it makes me laugh.
If you haven’t tried an improv class, then I think you should drop everything right now and go sign up for one.
If the idea of improv makes you nervous, that’s ok, it made me nervous too, and I’m in front of audiences all the time. Don’t let those butterflies in your stomach stop you. You may walk into the improv class nervous, but you will leave with a huge grin, some awesome memories, and maybe even a few friends.
So go give it a try. If you live in San Diego, take a look at the Finest City Improv site and sign up for a class and go see a show. It might just be the little push you needed to help you move forward in your career and your life.
If you’re still hesitant, let me know in the comments below. I can help give you the motivation to sign up. If you have already done improv, let me know about your experience so that we can get everyone excited to participate.