The Top 10 Ways Improv Can Make Your Life Dramatically Better!
If you want to improve your life, this may be the most important article you'll ever read! Improv is one of the best tools to increase make your life better. Here are 10 ways it does that:
#1 Ace that job interview
When I ask people why they decided to take Improv classes, I’m surprised by how many say that a job recruiter suggested it. It’s a way to increase their success on interviews.
It makes sense.
Handling an interview with a prospective employer is one of the most stressful situations most people face. Saying or doing the wrong thing can cost you a job you’re excited about. And, for every month you go without a job, it can cost you thousands of dollars!
Meanwhile, when you do get hired, how you handle the interview process can affect what you get paid. Handling the process effectively can increase your take home pay by additional thousands of dollars.
It only makes sense to make sure you come across as confident, quick and socially capable. Improv is one of the best ways to train yourself to exude those qualities. Because of that, it’s one of the first things many experts recommend to hopeful candidates.
#2 Meet someone special
Many dating experts and coaches are recommending Improv to people who want to set their romantic life on fire.
Dating coach Wayne Elise is one of the experts featured in the New York Times bestselling book, The Game. He repeatedly recommends Improv classes to his students. He says it’s one of the best ways to gain the skills of making conversations fun and interesting.
Dating is another high-pressure situation for most people. First, approaching someone you’re attracted to is something many people can’t do. The next hurdle is getting the conversation going and keeping it interesting. Then, asking for the date. And finally, making the date fun and exciting enough to deserve a second date.
Wayne Elise and other dating coaches say this is exactly what Improv makes easier. Once you’ve learned how to stand up in front of a group of people, with someone you don’t know, make up interesting things on the spot…
Dating becomes a whole lot less scary!
#3 Make more friends
In this age of Facebook and a thousand apps, many people are more lonely than ever before. We have more contact superficially with hundreds of people, while we share real, honest connection with very few. How can you meet and connect with new people?
Improv helps you get past the fear of talking to new people. It helps you overcome anxiety about saying the wrong things, of sounding dumb, of not knowing what to say. You learn you can trust yourself and the other person to keep the conversation going. You learn the skills to keep it fun and exciting.
People who are confident, fun and at-ease in social situations can attract new friends to them naturally. Improv breaks you out of your comfort zone so you can enjoy the many social benefits.
#4 Success in business
What are the most important skills to business success?
It’s clear that no matter how technically skilled you are in your field, having solid people skills is a must to survive and to thrive in today’s business world. Everyone: from customer service reps who need to calm an upset customer… to CEOs who need to calm an upset Board of Directors… needs stellar people skills to get the job done.
The skills of Improv can help you win in just about any field. Sales people need to understand how to work with clients in a way that build trust and positive relationships. Anyone with co-workers has to be able to adapt to a wide range of attitudes, personalities and ideas.
Improv allows you the flexibility to deal with a wide range of people. You learn how to build positive relationships and to make people feel at ease. You learn how to remain calm no matter what your scene partner, coworker or employee throws your way.
In other words, you learn to play it cool…
#5 Confident public speaking
Many people are so scared of public speaking they shake at the thought of it. The idea of sharing their ideas with an audience frightens some people to the point of tears. Certainly many people dread the experience.
Improv is the safest, easiest, most fun way to get past that fear.
You’ll quickly gain tons of experience in front of an audience. You can laugh and play while you gain confidence.
Plus, you can cut past the boring speech writing, and learn to interact with an audience in an honest, spontaneous way. You let go of the false protection of a script or plan. That’s because, you discover that you can trust yourself to come up with something interesting to say, even if you have no idea in advance what you’ll talk about.
#6 More fun and exciting relationships.
A woman once told me that after she took Improv classes, her grown kids started calling more often. They said she was more fun and and enjoyable to spend time with.
Many people have communication habits that cost them — they cost them relationships with people they love. The habits you have in how you communicate can drive people away and leave you feeling empty. Often what we say or do is taken differently than we meant, and we pay a huge price.
As you’re developing the skills of improv, you’ll find yourself being more supportive of other’s ideas. You’ll see that the people around you feel more at ease and contribute more freely because it’s a safe space to communicate. You’ll see people opening up to you in new ways because you accept their ideas and encourage them. They’ll feel more fully listened to and that you’re really paying attention to them.
#7 Unleash your creativity
Many people think they aren’t creative. Many writers get writers block and can go years without writing. They say they can’t help it.
That’s not because of an actual disease or something about them as a person. It’s because they’ve learned to censor their own natural creativity. They’ve decided that it’s better to shut it down and play it safe than to express themselves in an honest, open way.
As soon as you start improvising, you begin discovering how to drop those old barriers. You discover that playing it safe is really just playing it boring and that you can let your guard down and show your own natural creativity.
Once you’ve been through a good Improv class, you realize you never need to have writers block again.
Often, people say their mind feels different after one of my classes. That’s because they’re using the creative “right side of the brain” rather than the linear “left side of the brain.”
It gives you a feeling of freedom when you realize you can unleash your boundless creativity at will.
#8 Mind Reading
Okay, you may not be able to read a person’s mind after an improv class. But, people may accuse you of it!
You’ll focus a lot on body language and really paying attention to people. You’ll learn to notice what people are really saying — in a way that can make people think you read minds.
Because, Improv is all about how to recreate the complex dynamics of human interaction on stage. In order to do that, you need to understand those dynamics. You’ll learn things about the hidden aspects of what people are really communicating. These things have been there the whole time, yet you didn’t notice them.
You’ll see what we call Status and how people fight to maintain a dominant or submissive status in every interaction. You’ll learn to be a “status expert,” as the grandfather of Improv Keith Johnstone likes to say. This is something that most people never notice or understand. Yet, it is a key influence in virtually every aspect of your relationships.
#9 Become an awesome parent
There are 3 ways Improv helps turn you be an awesome parent:
- Children are effortlessly creative, Many people shut off the creative, childlike part of themselves at a certain age. When you turn it back on, it allows you to nurture and encourage that in your children.
As a teacher of mine, Jerry Stocking, once said, “You can’t give something that you don’t have.” If you don’t have happiness and creativity, you can’t give it to your children.
- You develop a greater flexibility in how you respond. Kids are generally more flexible in how they behave than their parents. Such parents often then resort to force, threats, and punishment.
A parent who is flexible enough can often have fun in a situation that may have caused another parent stress.
For example, one parent with a crying child may resort to threatening them if they don’t stop crying. Another parent, with an Improv background, may go into a story about a similar experience they had as a child and quickly engage the child’s interests. Within 15 seconds they may have stopped crying and be asking questions.
- You'll be able to communicate with them more easily because you'll learn how to really listen and pay attention to them. The more that you understand them and how they understand the world, the more you can communicate in a way that builds trust and respect.
#10 It keeps you young!
As detailed in this article, seniors may benefit from improv. Initial research shows it may can improve quality of life and ward off memory loss. Chicago's famous Second City offers a Humor Doesn't Retire program to local seniors. Over 250 seniors have completed the program over the course of two years.
Improv gives seniors an excellent way to enjoy positive social relationships on a regular basis, while laughing and having fun.
#11 It’s fun!
Yes, fun! There are few things you can do that will give you more laughter and fun than taking a high-quality Improv class. Some people think that if something is fun, it's not useful. That's nonsense! You can enjoy receiving all the other benefits… and be doubled over with fits of laughter, too. You can say things you’ve always wanted to say. Finally, you can let go and be a kid again.
Are you curious about the fun and excitement of Improv?
You could put it off another 20 to 30 years... or, you could try it out now and discover what all the fuss is about!