Why Learning Improv is Great for Business

Yes, this is a large pink disco ball.

Why Learning Improv is Great for Business

Reason number 7,497 why theater skills are business skills:

Improvisation or Improv: the act of speaking or performing without preparation; to make or create (something) by using whatever is available.*

While I would never advocate presenting or public speaking without preparation, anyone who has ever taken an improv class knows the phrase “…yes, and…”  Anyone who has studied acting knows the wealth of “…yes, and…” Yet, in the “straight” business world, there is a decided lack of “…yes, and…”

One of the cardinal rules of improv is that you never say “no.”  Saying “no” kills the scene and essentially stops the action.  Instead, the actors must find a way to obtain their objects while never saying the word “no.”  Don’t confuse this with the ubiquitous “…yes, but…”  The use of the word “but” denies everything that came before it.

Case in point:  “Wow that bright pink dress looks great on you but maybe we should look for something a little less flashy.”

Translation:  The bright pink dress is hideous.  The head-to-toe sequins make you look like a large disco ball.

This is how we speak.  We constantly qualify and negate our real point by using words like “but” or “however.”  By incorporating “…yes, and…” we can create a paradigm shift in our thinking and our communicating.

Case in point: “Yes Bob, that is an incredibly bright pink dress and you may want to wear it somewhere other than the company picnic.”

By using “…yes, and…” we move the conversation forward.  It acknowledges what was previously stated, without belittling or negating.  It is a springboard for further discourse.  It allows thoughtful and imaginative conversation.  It promotes collaboration, not divisiveness.  Even when people don’t see eye-to-eye on a subject, the use of “…yes, and…” can act as a way to understanding.  By saying “yes,” it doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree.  It does mean that we acknowledge that something was said.   It means that we have heard what was communicated and are taking it in and can move forward.  Yes, and isn’t that the whole point?

LB Adams

LB Adams is the Owner of Pragmatic Dramatics based out of Charleston SC.  Her company uses basic acting techniques and theatre games to train business professionals to communicate more effectively.

*Definition provided by Merriam-Webster.com

Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 350,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog


  1. What I have observed in terms of computer system memory is that there are specific features such as SDRAM, DDR and so forth, that must match up the requirements of the motherboard. If the personal computer’s motherboard is rather current while there are no operating-system issues, replacing the memory space literally usually takes under one hour. It’s among the list of easiest laptop or computer upgrade procedures one can consider. Thanks for giving your ideas.

  2. 67329 778830Right after study a couple of with the content material for your internet site now, i genuinely as if your technique of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site list and are checking back soon. Pls have a appear at my web site too and told me should you agree. 496269

  3. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I get actually enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  4. Hey, you used to write fantastic, but the last few posts have been kinda boring… I miss your great writings. Past several posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

  5. You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write. The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  6. Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share. Kudos!

  7. Thanks for the several tips contributed on this blog. I have observed that many insurance agencies offer customers generous deals if they favor to insure more and more cars with them. A significant quantity of households have several motor vehicles these days, especially those with more aged teenage kids still residing at home, and also the savings in policies might soon increase. So it is good to look for a great deal.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here