Improv — Simple Practices

Lately I have noticed a few improv resources that I am finding really helpful. One is a book written by a man, Robert Poynton, whom I met many years ago at a Berkana Dialogue. Robert emailed me last week to tell me about his book, “Everythings an Offer: How to Do More With Less.” His website for the book is here. I like its playful design in an of itself. I also love the language he uses to sum up the book in six words: “Let go. Notice more. Use everything.” Good guidance for most aspects of life.

As a group process artist, I like this term, I recognize that a big part of what shifts me from mechanics of facilitation to artfulness is my presence. These improv practises are powerful in their simplicity and clarity, not to mention the added impact of joy, ease, creativity, and flow. They help me to do my work in the best ways that I can.

Here is a bit more context from Robert’s website:

“This book explains how to make more with what you have, using less effort, less energy and less resources (and with less difficulty and stress). And who wouldn’t want that? It describes how and why we all need to improvise (let’s face it, no-one has a script for their life) and explains that the seemingly magical abilities of improvisers in the theatre are based on a small set of simple practises that anyone can learn.
This method, it turns out, can be used by anyone leading a busy and complicated life (that’s you isn’t it?) to build any kind of relationships or ideas. The book suggests that improvisational practise is like a new language which gives you new ways to understand and respond to events that are beyond your control and is illustrated with a wealth of stories and anecdotes, personal and professional, that include everything from advertising to zen.”

A second resource is another book, “Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up” by Patricia Ryan Madson. The book is here. Though I haven’t read it yet, the chapter titles alone were enough to spark many ideas for me in my design of events. Check these: Say Yes; Just Show Up; Start Anywhere; Pay Attention; Wake Up to the Gifts; Make Mistakes, Please; Act Now; Take Care of Each Other; Enjoy the Ride.

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