We are excited to share Bob Kulhan’s most recent interview with Pat McAndrew on the SHIPS podcast. It’s a great episode about how improvisational theater techniques can help us better communicate and interact in the corporate world. You don’t want to miss it! You can listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, and many other podcast platforms. Enjoy!
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.
Thinking 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.
Improv isn’t just about comedy. Becoming a skilled improvisor can be a huge asset in business, not to mention other high-stakes environments like sports, combat, and even in social situations.
Collaboration, 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
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.read more
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….read more
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…read more
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.
Made famous by sketch shows like “Whose Line is it Anyway?” and UCB comedians, improvisation has become a much-loved form of comedic entertainment. But what happens when improvisation takes a less likely route and is applied to business practices? After an evening at Access Confidential’s “Business Improv to Improve New Business” workshop, it turns out there are more than a few lessons that can be borrowed from improv to enhance interactions with coworkers and clients.
Below are key takeaways from the interactive, high-energy event, hosted by Business Improv CEO and Co-Founder Bob Kulhan. (P.S. Kulhan, pictured at top, was trained by Tina Fey, so you know he’s good!).read more
Which is more important as a leader: the head, the wallet or the heart? Trick question: all three.
Oddly, many leaders view their success in terms of personal financial growth, status and increased company profitability. In doing so, many struggle with or ignore how to connect, engage and show empathy to the people they lead.
If the old adage “People don’t quit jobs, they quit people” is true, then there are huge benefits in leading a company where employees feel cared for, respected and understood. So, given our overall workplace culture, where taking the time to connect personally is seen as a distraction from getting business done, how can you add more empathy to your leadership style without sacrificing productivity?read more
“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.”
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.”
Director, Business Products
Environmental Systems Corp