Get bigger audiences and more enrollment for your Improv Classes


Are you in an improv group?  Do you want to create more customers?  Customer loyalty?  And sell more improv classes?

Building audience loyalty is vital to your group.

Try this:

During your performances, why not do a demonstration of improv techniques?  Your audiences will learn more about improv and they will enjoy the show more.  Additionally as they learn more about the skills that improvisers use to create stories together spontaneously they will be more likely to take a class.

The Segment could be a 2 to 3 minute segment at the beginning of your show to help warm up the audience and get the players on stage in a fun (as well as low-stress) way.

Possible Segments:

  • Saying Yes (as well as Yes and) helps the players create in the moment.  Demo saying no.  Then demo saying yes.
  • Establishing the "where" or environment.  Two people start a scene and do not "name where they are" and then have the same scene with naming.   "Mary, thank you for meeting me in the park, it's such a lovely day..."
  • Endowment (or "assumptions").  Demonstrate two people meeting where they do not identify each other, and then repeat it with them naming each other.  "Officer Sullivan, good morning."

Have you done this before?  What worked for you?

Please add your thoughts about possible segments below and we'll grow this list so that it can be more useful to other groups.


Applied Improv Rapid Instructional Design


You are in front of the room. You are about to begin to teach, train, coach, lead, facilitate, moderate, mediate - bring the group through some experience in which they are going to learn. What comes next? Do you PLAN or PREPARE? Is there a difference? I say YES based on working with Thiagi from The Thiagi Group. He has collected ideas that combine being "in the moment" and "adapting on the fly" that create an exciting and engaging style of learning. There's more at the website

Here is a recent tweet stream that is a particularly helpful set of principles that you can adopt into any learning forum that you do.

  • #RID. An activity for using TEDTalk videos for teaching presentation skills.
  • #RID. Empower learners. Read Pearl Nitsche's "Talk Less, Teach More" and Donal Finkel's "Teaching with Your Mouth Shut".
  • Faster, Cheaper, Better (FCB): Approach to rapid instructional design (#RID). We Share a set of principles. Respond with skeptical remarks.
  • #RID Principle 1: Let the inmates run the asylum. Empower learners to take charge of their learning. Make them responsible and accountable.
  • #RID. Give choice to the learners. Let them determine what specific objectives they want to master and how they want to master them.
  • #RID. Learning styles could be all baloney but giving learners a choice in how they learn increases their motivational level.
  • #RID. Let learners become trainers. People learn effectively by training others. Use jigsaw approach to require and reward mutual learning.
  • #RID. Teach different groups of learners different units of knowledge or and steps in a skill. Let them teach other. Peer teaching rocks!
  • #RID. Teach different model, theories, and perspectives to different groups of learners. Let them jointly analyze scenarios and cases.
  • #RID. Let the learners test each other. Evaluating others’ performance using objective rating scale helps learners increase their mastery.
  • #RID. Let learners become instructional designers. Ask them to create posters, job aids, graphics, podcasts to enhance the training process.
  • #RID. Let this group of learners write advice and suggestions to future groups of learners on how best to master the training objectives.
  • #RID. Gradually convert your instructor-led training sessions into self instruction by using training materials created by learners.
  • #RID. Let learners generate content. Use activities that structure the collection, clustering, and sharing of best practices and examples.
  • #RID. Let learners generate questions on the content they learned. Embed these questions in quiz contests, board games, and final tests.
  • #RID. Let learners provide feedback. Let them evaluate each others' product by using objective rubrics. It improves everyone's performance.

Improv Class: The Start of the Beginning

You teach improv, right?  What is the very first exercise that you introduce to the group? Do you do something with a name exercise?    Or do you jump right into an improv activity.

Here is a name exercise that I often use.

Know Your Neighbor Ask the group to get into groups of two.  Ask them to choose which is person 'a' and which is person 'b'.  Ask person 'a' to interview person 'b', finding out their full name, their hometown and a piece of literature that was important to them when they were young.  Then ask for a volunteer among the 'a' people to tell the story of their partner....introducing them to the group with the information they learned.  Then ask that person to choose which pair will go next.  When that is done, repeat the process with person 'b' asking the same questions of person 'a'.

I like that at the end of this exercise everyone has one person that they know and with whom they have shared a story.  I also like that the person who just told the story picks who goes next.  It prevents the predictability of going around in a circle.  This models the improv concept of always being ready.

Have you used this activity?

What activity do you use to start your first class?

Sh*t Improv Trainers Say...


Sh*t that Impro Trainers say!

  • “Everybody up and in a circle please”
  • “What do you think the value of that activity is?”
  • “I’m going to invite you to step outside of your comfort zone.”
  • “Before we start...”
  • “I’d like to surface something I heard earlier...”
  • “Hmmm...yes...and how do you recognize this in your work?”
  • “Let’s notice how...”
  • “Allow yourself to be surprised...”
  • “Research suggests (is telling us...)”
  • “Ah, I’m sorry, I did not explain that very well...”
  • “What I want you to do is..”
  • “Let’s be playful together!?

This list was started by a group of Applied Improvisation Network members after the 2012 conference.  [Paul Z Jackson, Rich Cox, Simo Routarinne, Janine Waldman, Liane Fredericks, Lief Hansen, Raymond van Driel and William Hall]

Please add your "Sh*t Improv Trainers Say" below.  Thanks.