Improvisation for Breakthrough Results Workshop on July 16, 2015, Midtown NYC


What Improvisation Teaches Us about Leadership

Every improviser has a process — and at the very critical points, they ditch it and follow their gut. Improvisation is thought to be one of the most frightening gigs around yet it’s exhilarating once mastered. When in performance, improvisers in front of an audience are thrown suggestions at them, and right now they have to make something meaningful out of one of them. – It’s the true test of spontaneity.  There is no need to be funny or clever.  Just be there ready for anything.

Why are these skills important to Leadership? 

Because the best business plan, the best management plan, the best marketing plan, the best sales pitch or presentation is as good as its execution. And each inescapably is confronted by unanticipated events, situations, or problems, meaning that…

Every business plan at some point inevitably becomes an act of improvisation.

Join me for a three-hour session on Thursday, July 16, 2015 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

At Primary Stages, 307 West 38th Street, Suite 1510, Studio B; Fee: $100; Register here:

Some of the principles practiced are:

Say “Yes…and” to raise positive energy around any idea. Great leaders allow for possibility.

Prepare to be Unprepared – know and be ready for the likely questions and issues.  If you can prepare to be prepared, you can prepare to be unprepared.  Great leaders rehearse for spontaneity.

Play with Good Players – Look at the A-Teams and the Dream Teams.  What can we learn?  “Supportive and positive behavior wanted. Cynics need not apply.”

Rely on the Team –Trust that in that moment “under the spotlight” when you don’t always know what’s going to happen, it’s only with your fellow teammates that there is trust and true safety.

Be very specific – clarify – show, don’t tell.  In your daily business, you dissect, analyze and intellectualize or develop a valuable business case and then you need to communicate your ideas and your solutions physically.  Pay attention to your clarity of expression. This is the message that leaves the larger impact and impression long after your audience is gone. They are only interested in direct communication – meaning mutual perceiving.

Don’t think – Get out of your head and into the space. It strengthens your ability to perceive and sense fully.

Talented behavior is your greater capacity to experience and have involvement on all levels: intellectual, physical, intuitive.

The intuitive is most vital to any learning situation. 

Improvisation provides involvement and freedom needed for experiencing.  You shut off the mind.  When the rational mind is shut off – we have the possibility for greater intuition. This allows spontaneity which frees you to feel your own true nature. Improvisation is not a solitary sport. It’s great to know that better work can be achieved by working for the good of the group rather than the good of the individual.  The “we” is stronger than the “I”.

The session is facilitated by Martha Gelnaw, executive coach and improviser.

Martha enjoyed a longstanding business management career, a coaching career and trained with theatre and improvisation luminaries such as Mike Nichols, Paul Sills (founded Second City) and George Morrison among many others.

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