At the 2010 APDF Exchange held recently in New York, the intense two-day conference kicked-off with an interactive, energetic and creative improv session!
The origins of improvisation date back to the mid-1500′s and the Commedia Dell’Arte. Groups of roving comic performers traveled from town to town throughout Europe for roughly 200 years. Instead of relying on a formal script, these masked characters worked within a framework of scenarios which served to help them with entrances and exits, as well as defining who would play a particular role.
Improv focuses on bringing one’s personal awareness into the moment, and on developing a profound understanding for the action one is doing. This fusion of awareness and understanding brings the practitioner to the point where one can act with a range of options that best fit the situation, even if you have never experienced a similar situation.
Led by Greta Cowan, senior facilitator and executive coach from the Ariel Group, attendees learned how to improve their leadership skills through the lens of the improviser (literally, adapting to the unforeseen) in order to help generate excitement toward change, taking risks and achieving new results.
Leaders today need to be flexible enough to meet the demands of the changing environment. These are the exact same skills required of the improviser.
Skills for Improv and Leading Change
- Focus/be present
- Stay calm, relaxed
- Be energetic
- Allow out of the box ideas
- Move through mistakes
- Be aware of body language
- Remain flexible
- Take risks
- Think positive
- Exude confidence
- Play a role
- Work with the team
- Lead AND follow
Greta also took the group through a very important exercise for business leaders called YES, AND. Too many times, our buts negate any idea or offer that was recommended or discussed before the word but was used. As leaders, we need to get to YES, AND, and remove YES, BUT from our vocabulary!
In your next conversation during a brainstorming session, leadership team meeting or client meeting…try it!
For more 2010 Exchange summary notes, APDF Members can access through the Members Only Resources section on APDF.ORG.
Additionally, the Ariel Group gave each APDF Exchange attendee the book: Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach out, Motivate and Inspire.
APDF Executive Director
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