What Startups Can Learn From Improv Comedy

The Wall Street Journal [April 2019]

Not gonna lie. Barbara Haislip’s article isn’t the best, but we’re happy to see improv coverage in the WSJ!

She touches on some important themes that we also touch on in our workshops - the importance of listening and trust, improv’s ability to showcase hidden talents, and that improv at its core can be a tremendous teacher for dynamics in the workplace.

Nerd Improv’s workshops each use a unique activity list catered to the client. The framework of our intro and outro, however, remain consistent. We’ve learned the importance of creating an emotionally safe environment, and breaking down barriers to self expression, as soon as we walk into the room in order to maximize our time in each session. As part of our intro we also help participants connect the dots between improv and team building. We ask participants to share with us the components of a high functioning team. What we hear back - trust, adaptability, accountability, open-mindedness, fun, collaboration - are key words that the improv world is intimately familiar with.

What makes an improviser successful are the very traits that make a company or a team successful! Understanding this dynamic, and giving participants a taste of the improv world, is what our workshops aim to do. We like to have fun and share a good laugh, but also to gently push folks beyond their comfort zone and explore what it’s like to be truly, fully, engaged.

Danny Yadegar