Friday, April 22, 2011

The Rules of Improvisation

  1. Always agree and say "YES!"
  2. And not only say "YES!" but say "YES, and ..."
The first rule, always agree. Say yes. Say, “yes, and” to things. For example, if I enter a scene and say, “I have a gun.’ And you say, “No, you don’t. That’s your finger.’ That’s terrible. Now we’re done. Saying “yes” means you’re basically agreeing to honor what the other person is creating. The next part is “yes, AND …” which means to contribute something on your own, like, ‘I have a gun’ and you say, ‘but you’ll never get the gold because I put it in my butt.’ I wouldn’t recommend THAT … but that’s the end, you’re contributing. It’s an exercise in being in the present. To follow your partner, to ask questions.
It means don’t be afraid to contribute. It’s your responsibility to contribute. Always make sure you’re adding something to the discussion. Whatever is thrown at you, make an effort to agree and add something. In other words, whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.
Learned from the section The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life and Reduce Belly Fat in Tina Fey's new book Bossypants (2011).

See also Tina Fey's "Bossypants" Lessons for the Workplace, Nell Minow's blog.

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