Applied Improv Principles: Making and Receiving Offers

In the article What is Applied Improv? I discussed seven principles of improv that apply in the work environment. Here I expand on the concept of "Making and Receiving Offers" An offer can be anything that you communicate. The definition is so broad that it is challenging to describe other than to say “everything is an offer”. Saying “hello” to someone on the street is an offer, opening your mouth to talk in a meeting is an offer, and putting forward an idea in that meeting is also an offer. Accepting offers means listening to them and making an offer in return in the spirit of “Yes, And”. In the examples above accepting the offers could be saying “hello” back, pausing and giving your attention to the person that wants to speak, and nodding and saying “interesting idea” to the person offering it in the meeting. Blocking those same offers might look like ignoring the greeting hello, talking louder and turning away to prevent another speaker, or replying to the idea offers with “yeah, right. moving on”. It stops the action, diminishes the offer and negates what has happened.

How many offers to you accept in a day? How many do you block? Often it's easier to block them, to keep going, to stick with the status quo. But in accepting offers you start to innovate, build, challenge yourself and others.

Take an inventory after your next meeting to see where you are on the accepting/blocking scale.