Is it worth taking improv classes to become a better public speaker even if one doesn’t want to become an actor?
I attended an improvisation course with Second City in Toronto and discovered a few surprises. Improv doesn’t teach acting or public speaking skills but improv can help in both those areas.
Be “In the Moment”
The first lesson from improv is to be “in the moment”. That means paying acute attention to what the other performers are doing and saying because there is no script. You must respond to the other improv players.
Go With the Flow
The second lesson is to go with the flow. The mantra that you are taught to think is “yes, and…”. This means that whatever direction the story is going – you eagerly go with it. It doesn’t matter how dumb you think it is.
That thinking might upset you if you thought that public speaking was more like preparing to deliver a soliloquy in Hamlet. That type of speaking dictates that you memorize your lines and be sure to deliver them exactly as planned.
Improv teaches you to be more comfortable with not being in total control of what might happen next. That’s an important boost to your public speaking skills and will help you deal with many things in life with less anxiety.
That helps you as a public speaker by giving you the permission to make changes part way through your presentation because the situation demands it. Improv also trains you to relax, listen to your surroundings and not to panic over little mistakes or unpredictable interruptions.
After my improv classes, I became a much better public speaker.
The skills you develop from improvisation can also help managers and organization leader become more comfortable with ambiguity.
It was an eight-week program and the classes were a lot of fun.
George Torok was a shy student who learned how to speak in public. He has delivered over 1,000 professional presentations. He trains professionals, specialists and sales teams to deliver Superior Presentations. He coaches executives and leaders to deliver million dollar presentations. Visit www.SpeechCoachforExecutives.com or www.Torok.com © George Torok. You may reprint or quote this information as long as you quote the source and link back to this site. www.QuestionsAboutPublicSpeaking.com