Be Average? – gifts from improv

April 29th, 2009

Be AverageI’ve prepared a set of small cards that capture some of the  ‘gifts from improv theatre’ that I think are particularly relevant to facilitators.

One of them is ‘Be Average’.

This one surprises some people. Maybe it surprises you too. So let me explain why I think it’s one of the most powerful improv principles to embrace.

At its heart this is about blocking yourself. That voice in your head that tells you that you are ‘not …. enough’ (insert your own word). When performing improv you can see players do this – they falter, about to say something, thinking that the idea they just had is ‘not clever enough’ or ‘not witty enough’. I know, cos I do it all the time!

We do this elsewhere as well. We censor ourselves to not ask a ‘stupid’ question. Or to not try something new or a bit out of the ordinary.

In improv, ‘being average’ is about doing the obvious, and moving the scene forward. It’s about working with a group helping the whole to shine rather than focusing on the one-liner that shines the spotlight on an individual.

It’s about accepting your own offers, saying ‘yes’ to yourself. It’s also about giving yourself some slack. Doing something. Anything. And even surprising yourself with what you are capable of.

So instead of aiming so high that you are immobolised by fear or expectation (by yourself or others), aim a little lower and allow your natural talent and brilliance to emerge. Works for me!

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