When you think of Improv you think of comedy, right?  After discussing the ramifications of technology on the younger generation a few weeks ago with Mimi & Sandi, our conversation segued to Improv and how it’s becoming an in-demand class on college campuses.  At first I didn’t understand why it would be a class at all, thinking in terms of a comedy improv group, but if you think in terms of what improv in general teaches, it totally makes sense. When it comes to engineers, it might help this very focused, inquisitive group of students come out of their shell (not that they all need it! I love my engineer friends)….or how about those that experience anxiety in social situations.  So colleges, in essence, are helping students that have been looking at their phones/ipads, etc… throughout their childhoods to feel at ease in new social settings.
Think about it…what does practicing improv make a person do?  You have to become quick thinking on your feet, coming up with on-the-spot solutions to given scenarios.  …and then you have to perform them in front of others.  Have you ever watched “Whose line is it anyway?”  It’s a very funny improv show…I’d recommend catching a few episodes.  Yes, they’re hilarious, but how about the skills being taught under the guise of improv….
  1. Increased Confidence.
  2. Improved Public Speaking Skills.
  3. Enhanced Acting Abilities.
  4. Gained Comfort in Social Settings.
  5. Refined Brainstorming Abilities.
  6. Improved Listening and Observation Skills.
  7. Enhanced Creative-Thinking Abilities.
  8. Improved Decision-Making Skills.
  9. Team Development Skills.

What a great talent for anyone to learn.  Great for parties, small talk and job interviews.  It can also help in life in general, because when you are handed a set of circumstances, instead of panicking and reacting, you have the skills to come up with solutions in, hopefully, a more calm way.  Shit happens, you don’t freak out!  It has become a much sought after class at Cornell, Dartmouth and Northwestern Universities….to name a few.

From this….

To this!

The subject made for such an interesting “coffee talk” about how we are all adapting to the impact of technology on our world.  We’re all ensconced in our technology, but we can still remain a social society.

…and that’s when we realized our conversation had come full circle.  The impact of technology on communication and personal interaction skills is being remedied by teaching improv on college campuses.  Just another great reason to go to college! Problem solved!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

1 Comment

  1. I’ve heard about this before, and think it’s terrific! I was a member of the Illegitimate Theatre Company, and Shakespeare Improvised, and I can tell you my mind was working fast and strong, and it also taught me to give, take and trust.

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