How to boost your confidence with Improvisation
It seems counterintuitive that something as seemingly ‘scary’ as an improvisation class would have a positive effect on your confidence. You’d think that in order to improvise, you need to have a lot of self confidence already.
However, if we acknowledge that Improvisation and Improv Comedy on stage are not the same thing, then we realise that we improvise every day. When we choose what to wear, when we have conversations with others and when we put together a dinner with what’s left in the fridge, we already show we can improvise.
At the Improvisation Academy, the improvisation classes are no more stressful than reading this post. The other good news is, that once you’ve decided to go to a class, you’ve taken the biggest step. Turning up is half the work done.
And here are some take-aways from the class:
1. There is no need to be funny to have fun.
Improvisation is commonly linked to comedy because of shows such as Whose Line is it Anyway? and groups like the Comedy Store Players, who are hilarious. Almost everything they do provokes audience laughter. We laugh because we sympathise or empathise with what has just been said, and most often the ‘funny’ can be related to something truthful in real life. Sometimes it’s even a statement of the obvious.
Improvisers in our classes don’t aim to say a funny line. They look for truth and connection and fun with their partners. The laughter then comes from the shared experience of a game or conversation.
Think of the most fun and funny conversations and moments you have shared with friends. Was anyone trying particularly hard to say a funny line? Probably not.
Now think of a conversation which you enjoyed even though it was not funny. You may have had an intellectual discussion or a heart-to-heart bonding session. It was equally improvised. Connection with others and staying in the moment are of the essence here.
2. You can disclose as much or as little about yourself as you want.
As there is no script, when we improvise we rely on our experiences. That means, when having a truthful conversation with someone we are open and vulnerable.
In an improvisation class, you are always in control of how much or little you let others know about yourself. In everyday conversation, this is mostly true too. We can choose whether to go into detail or advance further along a topic.
Openness and vulnerability become an active choice. We gain control over how much we let others into our life.
3. You are only responsible for part of the conversation
Improvisers are very good at short turn taking. Each scene and conversation is co-constructed. Everyone in the group shares responsibility for what is happening.
If there are two of you having a conversation, then you are each responsible for 50% of it – though it doesn’t mean that you need to have equal amount of speaking time.
You get to practice being obvious and sharing responsibility while connecting with the other people during a structured sequence of games and activities. All in a safe environment so that you can become more confident and find your own conversation style.
Written by Angelina
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