The A to Z Guide to Life – Letter 'I' Monday February 1, 2016
'I' is for 'Improv' – used by Drama experts as short for 'Improvisation'.
This is one of my favourite forms of Art. It is displayed particularly well in the Game Show, 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'
With Improv, as in the show, the goal is to create flowing dialogue – and there are rules to the Game of Improv.
My alternative title to today's blog is, 'Turning Talking Traps into Flowing Conversations' – in recognition that being 'misunderstood' is one of the major blocks to enjoying a life to the full.
We can learn from the principles of improvisation. So let me begin with the key question, "Which would you prefer: points or prizes?"
In popular Game Shows, points make prizes but in 'The Game of Strife' the rules are the opposite. You can make your point and win the argument, but the only 'prize' you'll get is a damaged relationship and often resentment. If you would prefer to have the prize of a great long-term relationship, you need to play by different rules. And this is where Improv can help.
In Improv you never negate the point of another player on stage. If one suggests a scenario where they have been injured in some adventure, the next player can ruin the play simply by saying, "No you're not!" Any negation blocks the flow. In the rest of life, this is called an 'Empathy Blocker'!
I have seen this time and time again in relationships. One party continually blocks the other's flow by putting them down or contradicting what they say. It never works. Never.
Improv Professionals use 'and' a lot to move the flow on. They accept the other person's position and then build from it. It's a 'yes + and' strategy that works well. It builds relationships upon the foundation of letting the other party know they have been heard and understood.
So the next time you're tempted to contradict someone, realise you are falling into a Talking Trap. Press Pause! Then, let the conversation flow by acknowledging the other person's point and then build upon it. It takes practice, but the prize of free flowing relationships founded on deep rapport is well worth the effort.
I am so committed to the importance of improving relationships that I am launching a new radio show today! It's called, 'The Really Useful ShowTime' (T.R.U.S.T. for short), and exists to deliver on one promise: that the content will be really useful! You can listen to this for free around the World by tuning in to:
The timing is Noon-2 pm UK time.
The first show is going to cover how to improve your memory recall – something I think we'd all find 'Really Useful'.
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Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.