I went to an improv comedy class yesterday. It was loads of fun and our teacher revealed six lessons you can take away that I'll transfer to the world of work. Ben Van der Velde's six comedy tips (https://lnkd.in/ebYfqpCc )
The six tips
1. "Say yes and..."
Saying "yes and..." means you've accepted their reality, no matter how ridiculous, and continues the flow of the scene. A great way to apply this to teams would be in brainstorming meetings. Instead of no but, see what happens if you don't reject any ideas and play back and forth.
2. Look for offers
Ben says to look at what people wear and say to find an idea to play with and joke about. In a corporate setting, look at what people are wearing or saying to find ideas to connect with. Is your new client wearing vegan shoes? Is there someone at a networking event with a sports logo from a team you like? Use these offers to create an in-group bias and connect with people immediately.
3. Love bomb the audience
Be kind and be everyone's biggest champion. Negging can be funny, but it doesn't work on a lot of people especially if they're tired, stressed or frustrated. So be everyone's champion! Tell your colleague what a great job they did on a proofread. Send an email to your client and add a sentence about how much you appreciate their communication style.
4. Embrace failure
Ben says to keep trying different things. If one joke in a 5-minute stand-up set gets a laugh, he's happy. Keep this attitude in mind with brainstorming sessions and new meetings with new people. Daniel Kahneman's work on peak-end coding revealed people's perception of an experience is improved if there is a high 'peak' vs. a decent overall experience.
5. Make assumptions about people
People love to be unique, let them know what you notice about them and be open to being wrong and ask questions. Ask someone if they're vegan and if they're wearing vegan shoes. Ask someone if they like being healthy if they like yoga if they seem like a calm person. You can learn a lot about people by picking up on offers and making assumptions
6. Remember status
When doing crowd work, Ben makes assumptions about people that are either extremely high-status or extremely low-status (so it's clear it's a joke). For example, Ben asked me what my job was and I said I worked in Behavioural Science and was the trustee of a charity. He then replied I must be morally reprehensible and clearly at war with myself caught between corporate marketing and doing good. The whole class erupted in laughter. Use this when meeting someone for the first time to break the ice and start a conversation. To be on the safe side in a corporate setting, I'd keep it extremely positive by saying things like "You must be the next Einstein" or "Remember me when you win a Grammy".