This week my Level 1 Improv class ended at Limelight Theatre. After eight weeks together, students were scurrying around connecting on Facebook, requesting a yearbook of their time together and generally dragging their feet leaving the room as no one wanted the team experience to come to an end. Why?
Because although they had entered the room as strangers only two months prior, the group had formed bonds through successful team engagement.
While every improv class is a shared group experience that focuses on connecting, not every group gels as beautifully as this one. The same can be said of improv troupes, sports teams, work units, families and any other environment where groups of people co-exist. So what made this group play so well together? Each person agreed to:
1. Show up. While at first glance this seems easy and obvious, it really isn’t. Not only are you to literally show up in the space, but you must set your phone aside, make eye contact, participate, engage and be willing to be part of the process the group is experiencing. No sitting on the sidelines or else the group dynamic suffers.
2. Be positive. I often talk about how I can coach someone to improve improv skills, but I can’t coach someone to have a better attitude. Positivity breeds positivity. The same can be said for negativity. A group that enters their shared space smiling with the mindset of “let’s try” rather than “that won’t work” looks forward to working, creating, playing together again and again.
3. Make “we” more important than “me.” One of my favorite improv games is Paperclip partly because it makes for a great group photo, and mostly because it showcases everyone’s true personalities. In Paperclip, the group is asked to form a tableau so that everyone is seen and connected to showcase the concept of “we.” Every once in a while I’ll get a person who jumps in front of a beautiful tableau in progress to make it all about them. That’s putting “me” before “we” and in a team the ensemble is always more important that the individual members.
So what kind of team member are you?
UPCOMING OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROUP PLAY:
It’s time for another Yes Mingler in St. Augustine! We’re partnering with City Bistro Tea House & Coffee Company for fantastic beer, wine, coffee and yummy snacks to make happy hour even happier!
What’s a Yes Mingler?
A group of people with a “yes, and …” mindset meet for a mini adventure to expand their professional, social or even romantic networks.
Sunday, March 4 – Saturday, March 10, 2018
San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
A small group “playcation” for you to disconnect from devices, dive into an adventure and connect to yourself and other like-minded people while in the comfort of an eco-retreat designed to bring you back to the natural environment.