How Improv Can Help MBA Grads in the Business World

Improv in Business World

Watch good improvisation and in between belly laughs, you'll notice that several of the skills that make great comedy apply equally well to successfully navigating the business world as an MBA graduate. Before you laugh it off, consider these benefits of taking an improv class while you pursue your MBA.

Practice Thinking on Your Feet

In improv, the performers have no idea what will happen onstage. Generally, a scene starts with a suggestion from the audience. Then the performers play off that suggestion, agreeing with and building on the premise to create an intriguing and often humorous situation. In order for this unscripted show to stay engaging and entertaining, the performers must listen intently to one another so they can come up with logical, clever responses that keep momentum going. These same listening skills are required to navigate many situations in the business world so you can keep conversation flowing with interesting and relevant replies.

Become More Adaptable

In improv, you're never sure what will come next, and you have to go along with the suggestions that fellow actors throw at you or risk destroying the whole sketch. This perpetual uncertainty requires that you remain flexible at all times, ready to embrace an alteration to the plan at a moment's notice. The ever-changing business climate can be equally volatile, which means that improv's ability to develop your adaptability is invaluable.

Enhance Your Presentation Skills

Improv forces you to present yourself and your perspective in a confident, engaging, and comprehensible manner. Strong presentation skills that help your ideas stand out from the crowd are vital to making it as an MBA graduate in a competitive business climate. The graduate with the most appealing, clear, and convincing presentation style is the one who will land the job, contract, or account.

Decrease Performance Anxiety

Improv classes offer a low-pressure, high-fun way to practice performing in front of other people, a skill that easily translates from the stage to the boardroom and beyond. Just like when you regularly practice an instrument, practicing performing in front of people truly does make perfect, since it will decrease your fears and anxieties around speaking up at work. After you can stand in front of an audience and make strangers laugh about even the most unexpected turn of events, overcoming obstacles at work will start to seem like old hat.

Learn Teamwork and Cooperation

Improv is an intricate process of co-creation, requiring that each response builds upon the one before it. The success of the whole show depends on each one of the actors committing to the story as it unfolds so the entire plot makes sense from beginning to end. This process demonstrates teamwork at its best and teaches the collaborative problem solving skills you need to work in harmony with your peers in the business world.

If you want to improve your chances as an MBA graduate, consider taking an improv class. Not only will the laughter be good for you, you're bound to pick up several skills that will help you succeed beyond the stage and in the business world.

Written by Ashford University staff.

References

Why Improv Training is Great Business Training. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesleadershipforum/2014/06/27/why-improv-training-is-great-business-training/#2d43f0573926

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