Have you ever wondered how to stay present when giving a presentation to a packed audience? So many things can happen on that stage, nerves, not being in the right mental frame of mind, a fidgety audience or forgetting your line, heaven forbid.
If you are like me and continually seeking ways to improve your stage presence then I may have the answer for you and me alike.
What is the answer I hear you say? It’s Improv or short for improvisation for theatre and is a form of acting without pre-planning or scripting. Improv was made famous by the comedy show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” It’s taught as performance art, but its benefits to team building, public speaking, leadership, and business are significant.
We are all born improvisers. You may remember as children playing cowboys and Indians or maybe going to a tea party and dressing up to play that part. Children do improv naturally, but as adults, we somehow lose contact with our child side of things and playing games.
Taking improv classes will help you find again the natural power you have. The power to be creative, expressive, witty and being in the moment enables us to adapt as public speakers.
If you want to be good at improv, you have to be able to do a good scene and if you wish to be good in scene work you need to rehearse. And to rehearse you need to exercise your creative muscle the brain.
This is achieved by exercises, physical activity, vocal warm-ups and stretching to stimulate your creative side and be in the moment.
The only rule for improv is “Yes And” Yes I agree to accept any reality offered And add content to the original reality offered without answering back with a question. You must agree with the reality, Yes in other words for a No will stop the scene in its tracks, for it’s all about the other person. Conflict and action make for some interesting scenes all asked from the audience who set the scene for the actors. Sounds easy right, well you may be surprised how challenging it may become especially with multiple actors.
There are many improv classes worldwide so why not give it a go and experience the power of being present with improv.
My book suggestions for improv are: “The Comedy Improv Handbook” by Matt Fotis and Siobhan O’Hara and “Playing Along” by Izzy Gesell, both great books.