3 improv LIFE SKILLS you need:
Our brains are moving so fast, looking for what excites them and interests them. So fast, that we don’t take time to truly LISTEN to our family, our friends, our co-workers – and (pathetically) – ourselves.
#3 – Listen Better
In conversation, most people will listen for something that inspires them and then do one of two things: 1. patiently wait for the other person to complete a thought, all the while they are formulating what they are going to say – then they speak. OR 2. interrupt the other person the moment they are inspired to say something regardless of what else is to be said. Quite often, the second option is prevalent in our society because we MUST BE HEARD!!
If there’s ONE skill that people THINK they are good at it’s LISTENING. This couldn’t be further from the truth!! And when you get on stage and put you in front of an audience with the pressure of “being funny” or “entertaining” – the first thing to go is LISTENING.
What to know what the SECRET to GREAT IMPROV IS??
HYPER-LISTENING: to listen with your ears, your eyes and your understanding.
In an improv scene you may say something verbally, but contradict it with your tone of voice or imply that you don’t truly mean it…. It’s called sarcasm! Just listening with your ears is NOT enough. We need to read the body language and try to understand the intent behind what’s said.
Example: Wife says “honey do these jeans make my butt look big?”. You reply (while stepping back and giving a grimace face) “no sweetheart, you look great”. What you said verbally does not match up with what she saw visually – therefore the understanding kicks in that you don’t really mean it.
On the opposite end of the spectrum are those that not only don’t listen but won’t stop talking long enough for their scene partner to contribute. Quiet often you’ll find me shout out “PERIOD”! It means: Stop talking! You’ve said enough to inspire your partner. A conversation is give AND take. Say enough to inspire your partner and not overload them with too much. This way they can live in the moment and respond directly to what was just said.
Listen Better means to take time to truly listen to whomever you are with. Don’t just smile and nod, but actively listen to them. Listen with your ears, eyes and understanding. Go with your gut on how you feel about what was said. Don’t interrupt – ever! Give and take in your discussions. If you feel that it’s hard to contribute to a conversation, reread rule #1: yes, and…” and apply the AND part. If you are TRULY listening to them, you should be able to be inspired by what they say.
Additionally, stop talking!! If you are blessed with the gift to gab, bless you. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, remember there are OTHERS with whom you associate with that would LOVE to be part of YOUR conversation. Let them in! Have you said enough to inspire them? Do they have a voice? What ideas do THEY have? And LET them have their ideas.
QUESTION: Will applying these three rules in your daily life contribute to improving the quality of my life? YES!! and… it’ll improve the quality of life for those around you, your community and the world.