The Art of Improv: Benefits for Public Speaking

art of improv

Have you ever watched a comedy skit on stage performed by different actors and actresses? They usually don’t follow a script and just rely on their comedic instinct and wit. Now, I would call that as legitimate talent. Being able to make people laugh in a situation wherein you have no prior knowledge on what your co-actors would say. They have to create a scene on the spot. This format of comedy is known as improv. And did you know that you can learn from this format in improving your public speaking skills? Continue reading to find out.

What is improv?
Improvisation, or just simply improv, is a form of live theatre in which the different elements of the play such as the plot, characters, scene, story, and most often the dialogue, are made up in the moment. At times, the actors will take suggestions from the audience to spice things up. The great thing about improvs is that they are always different every single time.

The benefits of improv
Maybe after this, you’d want to learn more about improv of maybe even enroll in some improv classes. Take a look at these benefits and see how improv can be advantageous for you.

1. It can heighten your awareness

Think of a word association exercise wherein a person says one word and the next person would think of another word that is associated to aforementioned word. If one person goes “spoon”, the next person would immediately say “fork”, and then the next may be “knife”. If you, unaware on your feet, think that the category would continue on with “food and dining” then you’re doomed. The next person could say “knife” as a form of associating the word to “weapons”. That exercise is a great way to be in the moment.

Similarly, most speeches won’t always go the way you plan them to. Questions may be asked in the most unexpected time. It may go off in a completely different direction. Being able to improvise while you do your speech is a great way to take control of your flow.

2. It lets you know that it’s okay to make mistakes

The book “Confessions of a Public Speaker”, the author said that people make mistakes “on average once every ten words.” There will come a time that you may mispronounce some words or make grammar mistakes. You will understand that it’s okay to make these mistakes. You will learn to embrace your flaws. When you acknowledge your mistakes, you will learn to work and improve on them.

In improv, you have to continue doing the scene until it’s over. In the same case with presentations, you may mess up but that doesn’t mean that it’s already a failure. Learn to work your way through it. One attitude you have to learn is to act as if nothing is going wrong. If you would pay attention to the mistake, your audience will notice it as well.

3. It lets you get involved

Improv characters have to immerse themselves to the characters they are portraying and the scene they are in. From this, they would know what course of action they would have to take. Similarly in a speech, you immerse yourself on what you are presenting. If you are to talk about how a dog behaves, why not bring an actual dog? If you are presenting a new product that a company may deem useful, why not let your audience see it in action?

4. It’s an opportunity to grow and learn

Improv is an opportunity for you to make mistakes. It’s learning as you go with the flow. It’s being loose so that you don’t get too constrained with your workflow that when it doesn’t go as planned, you can still get back on your feet.

5. It’s a training ground for group presentations

There may come a time that you are not the only one presenting. You may have to divide the entire speech into parts. One person would give the introduction, another will discuss, and another will wrap it up. It may be difficult at first but it can be perfected with practice. Learning to transition from speaker to the other is something that one must master. Learning when to speak up and be quiet, communicating well in unison in front of an audience, and not hogging the entire speech all to yourself are just a few things that you can learn from an improv. One should always remember that not because the speech is divided into parts, doesn’t mean that you should not have knowledge on the others’ part.

Improv is such an enjoyable scene to watch. Try learning about it to improve (see what I did there?) on your next speech. There’s just so many things that you can learn from it that you may find useful in public speaking.

To learn more on improving your public speaking skills, take it from the experts. Talk to a Speech Ionizers coach today by dropping us a message at hello@spio.sg.