September 16, 2009

Improv and the Heart of Communication

Another Improv class, another round of posts on Improv and Communications! And this 10-week course is focused on emotion, perfectly aligning with my focus on the Heart of Heart, Head & Hand(TM) - how to engage your listener.

Pat Shay, my new and fabulous teacher, said, "If you show you care, your audience will be fully invested in what you are saying."

Placing your information in a context of meaning is crucial to being heard, understood, and having your listener engage with and take action based on your comments. Too often, we fail to show - to show up, to show emotion, to show passion and desire. For my clients who are vested in making change happen, showing passion is crucial to successfully moving listeners to action. In a professional setting, emotion does not need to translate as emotional. Emotion, in a professional setting, means delivering your information, and your request for change, within a meaningful context.

In regard to two-person scenes, Pat instructed, "If we focus on how we feel, the space between will fill up."

Again, focusing on the Heart helps to build a bridge between what you are saying and what your listener is hearing. Without that bridge, your information risks falling into a chasm. Without an emotional context, your information risks going unheard or being misunderstood by your listener, or your audience. Emotion is the connective glue between your idea and your listener's understanding and acceptance of the idea.

And, "The way you support your partner is by giving them something concrete."

Stories are concrete and tangible. Stories showcase emotion, and emotion is universal. Communication can be a gift, handing your listener [and your audience] something they understand, to which they can relate, and in which they can find meaning. Show respect - for both your audience and your idea - by delivering something solid.

Pat also said, "When we are being really honest, people see us as highly creative."

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