Improv ideas in stressful situations


You are stuck in the airplane for hours with little information, you are waiting for traffic piled up in front of you, or a false alarm fire bell empties your building to the parking lot. These are times when big changes happen to everyone's routine and people get stressed out.

Right now I'm in the first case. I the middle of my flight to Munich we diverted to Boston because the main cabin lost all power. Sleepy travelers, who have not been given much information find various ways to cope or find some control.

This is a time when I hope that everyone on the airplane has taken an improv class.

Accepting offers you are given: often they can't be changed so accept them and move forward with what has been given.

  • we are diverting to Boston
  • we are sitting on the tarmac

Making your partner look good: makings things better or easier for others make you both feel better.

  • the flight crew can't change things, taking it out on them doesn't help
  • helping other unhappy passengers get bags, move past, eases tensions

Serve the story: what can you do to make the situation the best for everyone instead of focusing just for yourself.

  • Don't be the loud person who has to get off right away
  • The story changed so focus on what comes next to tell the story as it is now, what is the next flight I need now.

The principles of improv are great for life every day, and really come into clear relief when the pressure goes up.

What are situations where you have used these ideas yourself, or what have you seen where you wish others had taken an improv class?

21st Century Business Skills


I'm sitting the of office of Troje, in Amsterdam, where I just had lunch with Henk, Alieke, and Liselotte - all "van Troje".  All of us have used improv with organizations for years in several ways - from Role-play to corporate performance to workshops on change, communication, collaboration, innovation and everything in between. Improv is a growing buzzword in the business lexicon these days and is being adopted around the world, although Europe has a few years head start on the US right now in our experience. But more articles are showing up in business press including the recent article on CNN.

In education 21st Century Skills are teaching children four primary areas - Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication, and Collaboration.

These 21st Century principles, mindset, and skills are required for improv and are useful in many places and are the key to the business world as we move into the 21st century. These 21st Century Business Skills have been "discovered" by software developers in the Agile and SCRUM movements, by designers in Design Thinking being used by the Stanford and IDEO to name just a few.

Applied Improv is a rich toolkit for teaching the principles and mindset and give the opportunity to practice the lessons and skills.