Communicators tap improv techniques to keep ideas flowing

As a corporate conference facilitator with Second City Communications, Lisa Linke advocates for work environments open to ideas.

It’s understandable if, when you watch an episode of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” or go to see an improv show, your first thoughts are not about how the onstage antics could inspire better communication within your office.

But that’s exactly what Lisa Linke and other facilitators with Second City Communications demonstrate every time they walk into a conference room.

“We use theatrical tools and the philosophy of improvisation to help people be more comfortable, whether it’s public speaking, presentations, team building or internal communication,” she says.

The exercises that employees do in one of Linke’s training sessions aren’t performance-based. Nobody’s standing in front of his or her co-workers making up scenes. They come in the form of conversations in which, unlike in the day-to-day office world, nobody’s judged harshly for an idea.

“There is no right answer,” Linke says. “Every improviser knows there is no wrong choice on stage.”

Improv in the workplace

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