How the Rules of Improv can help PR
Here at Full Circle, we have an informal book club going on. Sometimes we all share books on our company iPads. Sometimes we share the old-fashioned way and bring in actual books for others to read.
Shelley recently brought in a copy of Tina Fey’s Bossypants. (Side note: She is hilarious and I really want to meet this woman at some point in my life.)
There is one part of the book where she talks about her time at The Second City, an improvisation and sketch comedy theatre in Chicago. She addressed the rules of improvisation, and I thought many of them run parrallel with being a PR professional.
Let me explain:
- Rule #1 – Always agree and always say “yes.” In improv, you must agree with the situation you are in and go with it. If you don’t, then the sketch is basically over. She points out that obviously you can’t agree with everything in a real life situation, but I think it’s a good reminder to be open minded, explore new options, and try new methods. Liza and I really try to do this in our personal and professional lives. Maybe it’s not conventional – or the way other people/companies/agencies do things. But if it works for us, then why not try it?
- Rule #2 – Say “yes, and.” Basically, this is just a reminder to contribute. Offer and initiate thoughts, ideas and contributions. Liza and I have always encouraged our team members to contribute in conversations, bring their ideas to life and not be afraid to share their thoughts. (We’re big into group collaboration around here as we know it strengthens our offering ten-fold.)
- Rule #3 – Make statements. In Tina’s own words, “Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” I’d like to believe that we are a statement-making bunch around here. Sure, we ask questions and try to see an issue from all angles, but eventually, we make a decision and stick with it.
- Rule #4 – There are no mistakes. This is my favorite rule! If something happens unexpected, it’s only an opportunity to look at something in a new way. So-called mistakes are what life is made of, so embrace them, learn from them and move on.
Really, improv and PR don’t have to be worlds apart. The bottom line is to respect people for their contributions, try offering your own input to enhance a situation and don’t let the fear of making a mistake hold you back. Thanks, Tina!