After conducting an improv workshop at a consulting firm recently, I did my usual check-in with the group towards the end. What did you learn? What concepts will you take with you from today? In addition to some of the usual responses (echoing back some of the concepts like active listening and "Yes and,") the responses were surprising, in that they were overwhelmingly simple. They said:
Just the simple act of standing in a room and physically being together was a huge change for the co-workers… and a huge benefit to the team. And - it wasn’t that we were in a room at a lecture or meeting - all staring at the same spot in front of the room. But rather, we were in a circle making eye contact with numerous people for an extended period of time. And then, as I often do, I had the employees pair up and face each other and make eye contact throughout multiple exercises. Just the nature of facing someone in person and looking at them in the flesh had a huge impact on this group.
I have another client I’ve been working with on Stress Management and ways to avoid burnout in the office and through our discussions, what we’ve learned is that the thing that helps the most is taking a step away from the desk (and phone and computer) and being in person with other people. Going for a walk. Going to take a real lunch break. And ya know, breathing.
I mean, it makes sense. When my phone starts getting glitchy, I often realize I haven’t turned the darn thing off in weeks! Once I hit restart on my Google Pixel, or turn it off for a minute and then turn it back on, the problem is always resolved. Imagine not turning off for weeks? As humans, we also need to hit restart and it’s more important than we realize!
If you want to know why Corporate improv training is a benefit to your staff and/or students, start with this: we all need some in-person contact. We need to interact, to make eye contact, to be in the same room together. Regardless of the business objectives we target in every workshop, which are also incredibly important, the additional benefits are sometimes simple: We are more productive with a bit of a reset. It is impossible to have a clear mind if we never take a break from our screens and give a chance to un-clutter our minds with real face-time. No - not Apple face time! Real faces in a room with each other time! Do it.