Students obviously need a strong business acumen to succeed, but sometimes this can overshadow other important job skills like listening, collaboration and creativity. Leading corporations like Google and Pepsi Co. have already begun to recognize that improv is a great way to teach these “soft skills,” so professionals are better equipped to deal with the diverse audiences and unplanned situations that crop up in their day-to-day work life. In addition to my undergrad class, UBC Sauder can also offer Executive Education courses in improv for local organizations interested in applying the benefits to their daily operations.
It’s amazing how many students take my course thinking they’re already a great listener or a great team player—only to discover during an improv exercise that they still have a lot of room to grow.
Knowing some key improv skills is never a substitute for proper preparation, but they’re a great way to help students hone their active listening and presentation skills. When a professional has the ability to thoughtfully listen and respond to colleagues, or to contribute ideas in a progressive way, he or she is on the way to becoming a stronger and more effective leader.