Early in my career, I studied Improvisational Theatre with Keith Johnstone, a pioneer in the field.
Although Johnstone was brilliant, I felt completely awkward, especially at first. Still, I knew Improv held important lessons for me. I stuck with it for five years.
That turned out to be a good decision. Key parts of my model and coaching method sprang from Improv.
One of the most powerful skills I learned was how to think on my feet. An Improv game called “Dr Expert” is an example of how to practice that skill.
Watch Joanna play “Dr. Expert” in a Leadership Presence coaching session.
Let’s unpack that
I first coach Joanna to give herself time to think by organizing the question into its individual parts. “Gorillas. Plaid & Striped pajamas.”
Then I have her say something that’s common knowledge about the topic. “Gorillas are some of the largest mammals”.
She lets that rest with a short pause.
She then says what we know about the second part of the question, plaid and striped pajamas,.
That allows her brain to have time to connect those two pieces to answer the question.
Notice the Skills
By this point, I’d already coached Joanna on some key skills.
Skills she’s using to demonstrate competence:
- still body
- well-executed gestures (movie screen size; because she’s standing, each gestured placed & held
Skills that demonstrate relaxed, approachable confidence:
- relaxed face and soft smile
- good humored energy
- matter of fact tone
How to Play
- Get one or more others to play. The more the merrier.
- Create a list of nonsense questions, kind of like MadLibs. These are absurd questions for which there is no right answer.
- The game is to answer the question using Leadership Presence skills!
Go to the Next Level
Ask questions about real topics. Ask work / career-related questions.