Improv Tips

Improv For Business – Three Things

This is the first in a series of articles which will take an improv technique and tell you how it functions, as well as give you a way you can apply it to your business.

THREE THINGS

In Three Things you will be asked to name three things in a specified category (such as yellow fruits) while the rest of the team shows support.

EXAMPLE #1:

Jordan: Dan, name three yellow fruits.
Dan: Bananas.
Everyone: Yeah!
Dan: Lemons.
Everyone: Yeah!
Dan: Golden delicious apples.
Everyone: Yeah! Those are three things!

The idea of this game is to answer quickly without thinking too much, to keep your answers as realistic and grounded as possible, and to support you teammates.

EXAMPLE #2:

Dan: Becky, tell me three brand names of duct tape.
Becky: Stick-o.
Everyone: Yeah!
Becky: Rip-B-Gone.
Everyone: Yeah!
Becky: Grippems.
Everyone: Yeah! Those are three things!

If you can’t think of a real answer it’s okay to make something up, but try to answer with something that sounds plausibly real so that it could be considered believable. This will help your creative answers stay grounded in reality.

IN PRACTICE

Three Things reinforces the idea of supporting your teammates and being open to contributions from everyone in your organization.

Do this exercise until everyone in your group has had a chance to participate. If you have people who never contribute ideas during a meeting this can be a good way to encourage them to open up and contribute to the group.

One of your teammates may have an idea that could really benefit the company, but they don’t bring it forward because of fear. That could be the fear of being judged by others, the fear of looking foolish or sounding silly, or it could be fear of speaking. Meanwhile your company is missing out on potential innovative solutions that are right under your nose. Doing this exercise with your group will eliminate some of the barriers that people face when bringing their ideas forward and help your team freely contribute ideas.

Three Things also helps if you have an issue at work and you’re struggling to come up with a solution. Ask your team to name three things that you can do to solve the problem. Everyone pitching three realistic ideas can get the ball rolling. Think of it as brainstorming. You may not use each solution offered, but you’ll have options to make a decision with. You may even find some ideas that you never expected to find.

If you’re pitching a new product or service use Three Things to help you get to the root of what you’re pitching. What are three things your product does? What are three ways your service helps the client? This exercise helps you be specific and communicate your message clearly.

This is just a sample of the things that improv can do for your business. Using exercises like Three Things, you can transform the way that your team communicates, and make the most of every opportunity. Look for more examples in the coming weeks or contact us at goodimprov@gmail.com for more information.

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