Have you lately experienced a sudden blow to your conversational and social skills? Wondering where to get that confidence boost from so that you can continue to master these skills? This is a great time to enroll in an improv class and enjoy an experience like never before. Improv classes not only improve your conversational and social skills significantly, but they are fun and interesting as well, so much so that you will want to enroll for the next course as well. In this article, you will see what improve classes teach you and how it can be applied to life.
What Happens at an Improv Class?
A standard improv class consists of 10 to 15 students who originate from all walks of life. This includes aspiring actors with prior training, stiff office drones looking for a creative outlet and others who are aimless Millennials who simply want to gain some insight into their dimly cubicle job. The instructor begins with a number of warm-up exercises and games, before steadily dividing people into small groups to enact scenes in front of the entire class. As the scenes progress, the instructor will provide instructions in line with ‘imagine you are all on a train and… the train is made of jelly!’
It’s very much similar to what you might have experienced in a drama class at your school. Yes, being a tree and all of that is still a crucial part of improv classes, but the only difference is that it involves a bunch of adults instead of children. In order to benefit the most from your improv classes, you need to put aside your cynicism. The overall goal of enrolling in an improv class is to challenge your current state and broaden the limits of your character. Therefore, you need to be prepared, beforehand to shed off your inhibitions.
Here are the three things I learned and how I applied it in everyday life:
Saying Yes to Everything
One of the key aspects of improv is the ability to say yes to everything. The very moment you say no in a scene, it is no longer fun and it shuts off the scene. No matter how random an idea might seem, you need to go along with it so that the scene progresses further. So for instance, if someone says: ‘we’re on a plane made of cheese,’ you should agree with them rather than saying it’s an absurd idea. This can effectively work in normal conversations. For example, you meet a girl in a pub and she begins talking about how marvellous her trip to Scotland was and starts to bore you with all the details. Instead of shutting her out, or seeming like you are bored out of your wits, try to hold on to the conversation and figure out the humorous possibilities that can make the conversation even more engaging in a respectful manner.
Stop Worrying About Being Clever or Funny
The second rule of improv classes is to stop trying to be the next Nietzsche or Steven Martin. It’s normal to expect that not everything that will come out of your mouth will be earth-shatteringly intelligent or perfectly-formed idea. It takes time and practice to master these skills and it eventually comes naturally to everyone. Rather, try to take the pressure of being impressive and focus upon being your true self, through this you will see that your mind works more efficiently.
The Amazing Power of Persistent Eye Contact
A great technique that improv classes teach you is to hold sustained eye contact for a longer period without feeling any kind of embarrassment or awkwardness. Regardless of the type of acting, you need to be able to be self-contained and still. This technique is a great confidence booster and you will be able to look at people unwaveringly and more steadily.
The Improv Dojo gave me a place to jump in and try. Give it a try! You never know what you might learn about improv, yourself and life.