A couple of years ago, one of our Fishbird leaders spent the summer up in NYC with the Upright Citizens’ Brigade, a well-known improv group that now offers classes on everything from comedy writing to acting. Suffice to say, we heard our fair share of punchlines that year. But we also heard something interesting that’s stayed with us in Fishbird, and throughout our personal lives. The idea of saying yes. In order for improv to succeed, all participants must say yes to everything that comes out of another colleague’s mouth. You have to run with what you’re given and build upon it. For example, if you’re starting off a scene walking down a street, and one of your fellow actors says, “Aren’t you that famous chainsaw juggler?”, you’d kill the energy in the room by saying, “No, I’m not.”
This is a powerful lesson that can be applied to our everyday work.
Conversations are nothing more than movements of energy, positive and negative. When we’re trying to innovate, we’re just like an improv comedy group starting a story. Nothing’s been established. There are no boundaries. No stops. Everything is open game. We can only build our stories into something fun and exciting by allowing them to grow. Yes is integral in this. It pushes the positivity forward and creates new places for the story to go. The best improv actors in the game understand this concept.
And now so do you.