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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.

Using Improv to Improve New Business

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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!).

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5 Methods for Getting to the Heart of the Empathetic Leader – by Bob Kulhan

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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?

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The 5 Secrets of a Presentational Ninja – by Bob Kulhan

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Even with great products, wonderful news, and groundbreaking announcements, one thing still determines if the presentation is a success or failure: the presenter.

A great presentation can change the path of your career, steer your company to untold success, and ignite people’s interest in your product or service. But even with great products, wonderful news, and groundbreaking announcements, one thing still determines if the presentation is a success or failure: the presenter.

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How Improv Rocks This Learning

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Going off the cuff helps learning and performance. Take it from Ben Folds, jazz musicians in an MRI machine and an improv company’s founder.

Orchestra. Although he didn’t play “Kate” — a personal favorite for obvious reasons — he did deliver on the one thing every audience member expected and waited patiently for: his improvised song of the night that always has the same title but never sounds the same twice.

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No Laughing Matter…How Improv Improves Business.

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Robin Williams will always be remembered as the improvisational genius that was forever present in the moment, and the only thing faster than his mouth was his mind. His speed and focus allowed him to feel the audience and change direction on the fly. Although Mr. Williams made improv look like riding a bike, very few people can upstage him or would even try. But was his skill innate or learned, and what can we, as business executives, study from his ability and apply to the business world?

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Getting to “Yes, And” How improv comedy skills became a must-have for entrepreneurs. By Seth Stevenson

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A few years ago, for complex reasons, I attended the orientation week for Columbia Business School students. The week involved team-building exercises that forced us to solve problems together. It included a module on ethics, in which we were asked to respond to hypothetical dilemmas. There was, of course, a near-lethal amount of alcohol consumption. And, one morning, as we gathered (quite hung over) in the auditorium, we did improv.

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How Improv Can Open Up the Mind to Learning in the Classroom and Beyond – By Linda Flanagan

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Long before Amy Poehler became famous for her comic roles as Hillary Clinton on “Saturday Night Live,” and as indefatigable bureaucrat Leslie Knope on “Parks and Recreation,” she was a college freshman looking for something to do outside class. During her first week on campus, she auditioned for the school’s improvisational theater group, “My Mother’s Fleabag,” and discovered a passion. “Everyone was getting to act and be funny and write and direct and edit all at the same time,” she writes in her memoir, Yes, Please. “My college life sort of exploded in happiness,” she adds.

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Eight Keys to Better Brainstorming

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Check out this article, written for Training Industry Magazine by our very own Bob Kulhan, for some fresh new tips on leading a better brainstorm!

Every business has to overcome countless obstacles on its way to success. Hard work can carry you a long way, but any company (no matter how hard working) can be left behind when it doesn’t problem solve quickly and creatively. 

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Yes, And.. Improv Techniques To Make You A Better Boss – By Lindsay Lavine

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Many of our favorite comedians launched their careers in Improv, but it’s also a tool for leaders to communicate more effectively with their employees. And, no, it’s not about comedy or trust falls.

Charna Halpern, co-founder of iO (formerly ImprovOlympic), a Chicago and Los Angeles-based theater and training center that launched the careers of comedians like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Mike Myers, says business leaders can benefit from incorporating improvisation techniques into their leadership style. Halpern says iO emphasizes a high-level communication and collaboration.

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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