The L&D Forum

Theatre in the training room…

We are talking, improv.

Improv has been used in so many training rooms in the past few years, saying goodbye to the old lecture environment, and hello to the engaged training room. There are many ways of using improv in training, think leadership, think teamwork…

I recently came across an article on the Harvard Business Review website written by Tom Yorton called 3 improv exercises that can change the way your team works and I wanted to share some of the ideas with you, and see if anyone has used improv in their training before.

“There’s an important axiom in improvisation: Always take care of your partner”.

Actors on stage need support, this is true for those in the training room too. You need to get everyone involved in the activity, that way everyone can support each other. You need a good ensemble (a group of items viewed as a whole rather than individually) working in the room to get good results. A great ensemble implies cooperation, collaboration and unconditional support.  

Failure is ever present in the training room, as it is in the theatre, but learning to accept failures, leads to larger successes in the real world. Failure in the training room sets you up for these successes, and gives learners a safe place to fail. This helps people embrace risk and try out new things in the training room which may be just what an organisation needs.

You may initiate an idea, then support someone else as he takes it in a different direction, and this is just how improv works. This is also how business works, and how the best ideas or best meetings happen. The goal is to not be or even follow the leader, but to “follow the follower”, and fill the gaps comfortably.

Tom has given some great example exercises throughout his article, to have a look at these click here.

Have you used any of these exercises before? Or can you think of any others?

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