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For years, Business Improv’s innovative corporate training programs have helped professionals improve their communication, leadership, management, and team building skills. To learn more about our training, the positive effect our classes have had on our graduates, and how we can help your organization, we invite you to read the articles below.

Improvisation in Leadership Education: “Making Interactions with Others More Positive and Meaningful”

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The Online Journal of New Horizons in Education
April 2020
Volume 10, Issue 2

Improvisation is synonymous with unplanned performances. Paradoxically, successfully engaging in improvisation involves structured underlying techniques. These structured elements have transferable applications to leadership and organizational development. The purpose of this research project is to explore students’ experiences engaging in improvisation during a weeklong graduate course. We employed a basic interpretive qualitative approach to examine learners’ perceptions around the applications of improvisation tenets and strategies to their professional lives. Results from this study highlighted that the use of the improvisational tenet yes, and motivated participants moving beyond a personal agenda to promote collaboration. Improvisation also facilitated the assessment and mindful adjustment of energy to inspire authentic engagement with others to build trust. Additionally, learners embraced spontaneity to hone their ability to adapt and react in time to change.

Soar to Success: Bob Kulhan Uses Improv to Help Businesses Soar to Success

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Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 10.58.24 AMHave you ever been in a business meeting or situation and found yourself thinking about what you were going to say next, instead of actively listening? Do those conversations end up building trust between you and the others? These scenarios cease to be a problem when you are trained in Business Improvisation®

Bob Kulhan has been helping business people understand and react more successfully for over 20 years, using his skills in improv.

He was a member of Chicago’s famed Second City acting group and has performed in the iO and Annoyance Theaters, as well as the PIT in New York City.

In our interview, Bob explains his technique of, Yes, And, explained in his book, “Getting To YES And-The Art of Business Improv.” The phrase, Yes, and, is the cornerstone of improvisation. For example, in a sales conversation, rather than being satisfied with a No answer, or an objection to your presentation, simply respond with, Yes, And — what can we do to make our product work for you? Always keep the client engaged and let them tell you what they need and explain how you can fill that need. Read More

WSJ – What Startups Can Learn from Improv Comedy

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Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 2.28.03 PMThinking on your feet. Keeping an audience engaged. Forging employees into a team.

They’re all crucial skills for entrepreneurs. And that is why many founders are turning to improv comedy for help running their business. They believe that the core ideas of improv comedy—riffing spontaneously on novel situations and interactions with other performers—can help spark creativity, collaboration and trust among startup employees.

Collaboration—and Improv—Help Fuqua Team Win Energy Case Contest

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Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 3.04.46 PMCollaboration, as many MBA students quickly learn, is key in a business environment. For four Duke University Fuqua School of Business students, that collaborative effort fostered an important victory on the road to a potentially fruitful career.

Paige Swofford, Liz Arnason and Mike DeNoia, Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) and MBA dual majors, alongside Daytime MBA student Yochai Ben Haim—all first-years at Fuqua—nabbed first place at last month’s Challenges in Energy Case Competition held at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Teamwork was essential to their victory, but their collaborative bond had formed long before the group entered the competition. Read More

Adapting an Improvisational Mindset

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by Patty Gaul

Achieve better business results by communicating differently.

With the increasing discussion around innovation, and the need to do business differently, many organizations are turning their usual way of operating on its head.

Many are working to instill a culture where risks are welcome, making small changes in process that can lead to new solutions, and asking questions to spur new thinking. One method that can support these changes and which is gaining ground is that of using improvisation.

Bob Kulhan is—along with Chuck Crisafulli—author of the soon-to-be-released Getting to “Yes and”: The Art of Business Improv. Kulhan is president, CEO, and founder of Business Improv, which creates executive education programs for top business schools in the United States and abroad, as well as leadership development and experiential learning programs for corporations, including many Fortune 500 companies. Among the organizations that have pursued Business Improv are Google, the Ford Motor Company, the U.S. Naval Academy, the United Nations, and Hilton Hotels.

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How Improv Can Help Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Win the Debate

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Bob Kulhan is Founder and CEO of Business Improv and author of Getting to “Yes, And”: The Art of Business Improv”, out in January

They should apply the ‘yes, and…’ technique

If the primaries taught us anything, it’s that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton should fully embrace the tenets of improv heading into their first presidential debate Monday night. This is tricky because American politics are as pre-packaged as a can of pork and beans. But once we get past the over-rehearsed lines that presidential candidates regularly regurgitate, we’ll have a real opportunity to see them “go off script” with a reactive and adaptive style of communication known as improvisation….

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9 surprisingly effective job interview exercises from improv coaches

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9 surprisingly effective job interview exercises from improv coaches
The tools of the comedy trade can help you rise to the top of the talent pool.
by Dominique Rodgers, Monster contributor

A successful job interview requires confidence, thinking on your feet and quickly finding the right words to impress your audience—the same qualities that improv comedy performers need to demonstrate on stage.

And the very exercises they use to prepare can also help you make a great impression. Improv exercises can “allow the interviewee to really make a connection with the interviewer and make the interviewer feel like the interviewee really grasps onto any information that is shared,” says Rebecca Stuard, creative director of Improvolution in the New York City area…

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Why Top Companies and MBA Programs are Teaching Improv

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EXECUTIVE MBA PROGRAMS AT DUKE, MIT, UCLA, AND STANFORD HAVE REALIZED THAT LEADERS NEED TRAINING IN HOW TO FAIL.

It’s the standard business school storyline: A manager decides to get an executive MBA degree and starts classes with a bit of a chip on her shoulder.
“You may have reached that point in your career where you’re middle management, you’ve done many things right, you’ve had some failures that you’ve learned from, [and] you could be molded into thinking you’ve figured some things out,” says Michael Desiderio, executive director of the Executive MBA Council, a nonprofit association that works with more than 200 universities and colleges that offer executive MBA programs.

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SOME TESTIMONIALS:

“Focusing on adaptation to change, stress management and teaming, your improv team was able to bring these lessons to life. The “on your feet” approach combined with a high level of participation involvement made for a most enjoyable learning environment. Our team went away revived and refreshed and they learned tools to help them better deal with change on a personal and project level.”
-Craig Brummel,
Director, ERP Programs,
University of Notre Dame

“The overt problem: Naming a new software product that will consume half of our company’s resources over the next two years. A big investment, and worthy of considerable thought to communicate the quality and usefulness of this product!
The underlying problem: Getting nine directors of the company to all agree on this name! Enter the recent student of Bob Kulhan’s Business Improvisations class with a raft of new/old ideas. You’ve heard of brainstorming, thinking outside the box, and making new associations, but the practical application of those techniques, in a vibrant, exercise oriented, on-your-feet class brought it all to new heights for me! I took it all home and ran that “Name-Brain” meeting with aplomb… and the results were phenomenal!We actually named the product, with 100% participation, building on each other’s ideas, and total buy in. (Now if we can just Trade-Mark it!) And the level of excitement within the company at having that unified choice is terrific.”
-Cindy Whitaker
Director, Business Products
Environmental Systems Corp