How Being A Comedy Improviser Helps Me At Work

28/8/2015 |

Ninja Productivity TipsI’ve been improvising since I was 8 and I love it. I quite often get asked how being an improviser impacts on my job as a Productivity Ninja. So here is a blog about the top 3 things you can take from the world of improvisation and use at work.

Yes And…

Improvisation is based on the concept of “Yes and…”, meaning that when someone gives you an idea you say yes to it, you accept it whole heartedly and then add something of your own to it.

Yes Anding works really well when it comes to your own ideas and the ideas of your colleagues. It’s so easy to have an idea and then to think of 100 reasons why that idea won’t work. Or for a colleague to make a suggestion only to be bombarded with every reason why it wouldn’t work and not one reason why it could.

So try saying Yes And to your ideas and those of the people around you. It is so easy to jump to the negative and by letting no be our go to answer, we’re risking destroying so many potential awesome ideas.

Saying Yes and is fun and we all need fun at work. And somewhere amongst the fun the answer you are searching for might be hiding! 

Make your colleagues look good

In improvisation we always work as a team. When you are building a story together from nothing except an audience suggestion you can’t afford to have one member of the team being a lime light hogger.

Being a team player is so important in all areas of life and it’s incredibly important at work. Try to remember at all times to make your colleagues look good.

Help them, give them credit where credit is due, point people in the right direction, introduce people who will be able to help each other, spread your knowledge and wisdom.

Don’t be the one person trying to hog the lime light when everyone else is working together as a team. No one likes that guy (or girl).

It’s good to fail

As well as improvising myself I go and watch a lot of improvisation especially at festivals. All of the best shows I have seen were built around failure, when one of the improvisers made a mistake e.g. called someone the wrong name and all the improvisers on stage grabbed the failure and ran with it.

Great improvisers love to fail and audiences love to watch improvisers fail, laugh it off and use it to their advantage.

Unfortunately in some schools and workplaces failure is seen as something to be ashamed of and something that you will be jumped on for. Obviously we don’t want people failing at work because they’re being lazy and incompetent but failing genuinely can give us so much information.

It can tell us what isn’t working, where we need to improve, how we can do things better.

We can also make massive discoveries through mistakes, did you know that Penicillin, X-rays and Pacemakers were all made my mistake?

Try and create an environment where people aren’t blamed for their mistakes and instead the mistakes are seen as opportunities.


Want to see Katy’s comedy skills in the flesh – and learn to be more productive? She’s hosting a public workshop in Manchester for ‘How to be a Productivity Ninja’ on 13th November. Book now before spaces run out!

Read more posts by Katy on her Productivity blog: We love her post on the Magical Ideas Jar!


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