Today’s guest post comes from one of my good friends, Kevin Benson. Kevin and I went to Whitworth together and he recently launched his own Consulting firm focused on teaching improv skills to entrepreneurs. You have a lot to learn folks…
One of the strengths of being an entrepreneur is the ability to adapt, change and respond quickly to client needs, or what our market or our competitors are doing. Too often, however, these skills are learned through years of trial and error. What if there was a skill set that could make you more adaptable, creative, spontaneous and responsive as an entrepreneur right now? There is! Improvisation.
3 Reasons Improvisation Will Make You a Better Entrepreneur
1. Improv makes you an amazing listener
Improvisers are taught to listen intensely. Listening involves more than just speaking and hearing. Listening is a deeper level of awareness for the communication and messages being sent by others. Improvisers train themselves to pay special attention to details given in a scene or performance.
As business owners, what would happen if you listened wholly and intently to messages from our clients, colleagues and customers? In addition to your clients feeling appreciated, heard and understood, you would probably have a better understanding of their problems, needs and how to serve them. Win-Win!
2. Improv forces you to be comfortable with failing quickly and failing often
We hate being beginners, don’t we? Especially as adults, the daunting task of learning something new can be frustrating and even cause us serious anxiety. The first exercise I teach my students in my improv 101 classes is to stand in front of a group of their peers, to exclaim loudly “I failed! Thank you!” and then take a deep bow to thunderous applause. What would happen if we CELEBRATED failure? We celebrate what did NOT work, we recognize that and then we immediately get on with the business of getting better at improv.
I would argue that we fear failure so much we have created organizations, employees, and even executives who will do everything in their power to make sure that each and every idea, product, service, or project they touch has NO CHANCE to fail. As entrepreneurs, we do not have the time or energy to think this way! What if you created a mindset that made it necessary to take big risks and embrace big failure? As entrepreneurs, we must stop fearing that things won’t work. Failure can be a gift, embrace it!
3. Improv increases your creativity, spontaneity and speed
Accepting that it is OK to be creative and take COMPETENT RISKS in our work can really unlock some potential for us. But, do you know what holds us back from this creativity most often? Our own minds! The silent voice of judgment in our heads telling us what is and is not good. Especially for entrepreneurs and those of us who work on our own, our biggest voice of judgment is NOT coming from the executive in the C-suite. It’s coming from our own heads. Improv can help you break through that, and respond more creatively, and faster than ever before.
Improvisation can be scary. That’s understandable. Starting and running your own business is also scary. Improv and entrepreneurship complement one another in very powerful ways. If you are an entrepreneur, you ARE a risk taker. Improv can help you overcome more of those fears!
Kevin Benson is a solopreneur, teacher, speaker, improviser and owner of Bold Move Consulting. Bold Move Consulting works with companies and non-profits to make them more “improvisational.” You can find Kevin on Twitter @kevinbenson.