September 27, 2022

223: Insights From Improv to Improve Communication with Brian Rolnick-Fox

Anyone who’s worked on a team knows that communication can be a challenge. Sometimes, common problems require creative solutions. Improv is a powerful tool that bring out the best in any group or team. It’s not just for comedians; it can be used to create new ideas, solve problems, explore feelings, and connect with each other.

Today’s guest is Brian Rolnick-Fox, the Founder, CEO, and Chief Evangelist of Nimble Learning Strategies. Brian has been using improvisation as a channel for individual growth, group development, and organizational success since 1999. He has delivered communication and leadership programs for a diverse set of organizations from Fortune 100 companies to educational institutions some of which include Citibank, Goodyear, Dartmouth College, and Harvard Business School.

Brian and I talk about what we can learn from the field of comedic improv to help us be better communicators. We get into specific behaviors, mindsets, principles and tactics that can help us connect and collaborate better, plus we have a whole lot of fun.

Members of the Modern Manager community get a free Communication and Collaboration document from Nimble Learning Strategies. This document describes the three As of communication and how you can implement them to communicate more effectively in your daily life. Get it when you join the Modern Manager community.

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Read the related blog article: How Managers Can Use Improv Strategies to Improve Communications



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Key Takeaways:

  • We are always naturally improvising; we take in stimuli and respond to them in the moment.
  • Improv strategies can help us collaborate better by providing an opportunity to explicitly talk about how we communicate and collaborate.
  • We often forget that people or departments have different perspectives and assume we’re all seeing the situation the same.
  • Being specific in our language is essential to ensuring everyone is on the same page.
  • Participating in an improv game or activity can feel uncomfortable, but that’s an opportunity to acknowledge vulnerability and stretch yourself.
  • Working in sync requires us to listen, watch, and adapt ourselves to others.
  • Improv is successful because it’s grounded in the idea that “I’ve got your back” – whatever you do on stage, I’ll receive and take forward. We can cultivate the same atmosphere in our teams.
  • Improv also creates opportunities to form inside jokes, strengthening a team’s sense of connection.
  • For specific improv activities to do with your team, check out the related blog article.

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