Instructional Moments

"Insights and Practical
Applications about Life and Learning
Distilled from Improv Theater Techniques"

Instructional Moment 4

P.O. Box 962  Northampton,MA  01061
413.586.2634 [Voice]
413.585.0407 [Fax] 

This free e-zine highlights the ways that Improv Theater techniques have relevance to our daily professional and personal lives. Whether you are a teacher, coach, corporate executive, sales representative, stay-at-home mom, blue-collar worker or professional speaker, you will find these ideas to be intuitive, fascinating and immediately applicable to what you face on a day-to-day basis. Instructional Moments is directed toward individuals who desire to become more confident, playful, spontaneous, and effective.

It’s common for those new to Improv to allow fear or lack of confidence to keep them from volunteering for games. When outcomes are unknown and collaborators’ actions unpredictable, stepping up to play an Improv game can feel like an excursion into the Bermuda Triangle. With no map, no recognizable landmarks, and many tales of odd experiences, it seems safer to stay put and avoid looking foolish, lost, or incompetent.

Counter-intuitively, this illusion of safety through reticence is precisely that…an illusion. It’s actually safer to step into the fear by volunteering. The very act of acknowledging the fear and going toward, rather than away, from it often renders it impotent. Once up in front of the group, a player who does stumble or make an error during a game rarely is seen as foolish or inept. More likely, the audience will describe her as bold and action-oriented

Decide to respond to fear of failure as if it were an invitation to approach rather than as a warning to avoid something. Improvisers are taught that confidence to perform can effortlessly coexist with fear. They can’t know how any game will turn out, yet they trust that it will be all right. Mark Twain’s observation that “I’ve been afraid of many things in my life and most never happened,” is a helpful mantra to repeat whenever trepidation is felt. This approach allows you to stay highly involved in the process while remaining minimally attached to any particular outcome.

The energy that you use to try and control the uncontrollable is as futile as trying to sculpt fog. By learning to let go of outcome, you can let go of the need to control the process. Once you’ve let go of the need to be in control, you often begin to feel more in control of that situation. The more you trust the process, the more you begin to trust yourself. This gives you both confidence to be in situations where you don’t know the outcome in advance and also the ability to act in those situations. You begin to experience fear as merely another emotion in the broad range of life’s experiences. Just as you understand that you don’t need to let every angry, lustful or destructive feeling dictate your behavior, you appreciate that fear is an inducement to, rather than a mandate, for action. By abandoning the need to know specific outcomes in advance, you allow yourself to direct that energy towards maximum creativity. It’s not like working without a net. It’s like knowing that your net is always there, within you.

IMPROV GAME TO PLAY:   "The Spotlight"
Instructions can be found on  p.38 of my book, "Playing Along: 37 Group Learning Activities Borrowed From Improvisational Theatre."   For free print-friendly instructions of "The Spotlight" visit the appropriate link:
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Thanks for playing along! Stay well and mirthful.   Izzy

Feel free to forward this e-zine to friends and colleagues who would be interested.

About the Author...

Izzy Gesell, CSP, helps organizations and the people within them transform their thinking to become more confident, competent, and creative.

Whether presenting a keynote speech, a half or full day training, coaching for enhanced presentation skills or facilitating a discussion, Izzy is entertaining, informative and blatantly practical.  He was one of the first to bring the practical concepts of Improv Theater into use as a tool for improving teamwork, communication, leadership, and self development.

Check out Izzy's numerous free articles on improv, humor, and communication, as well as program information:

Fall Schedule of
The Workshop

I'm excited to announce the fall schedule for INSTRUCTIONAL MOMENTS™, the full day interactive workshop that will show you how to use Improv Techniques to enhance your skills when working with groups.

Washington DC
Sept. 30, 2004

Raleigh NC
October 28, 2004

San Francisco CA
Date to be Determined.
(Either Nov 15, 16 or 17, 2004)

For Detailed Information:

Annual Conference of
Applied Improvisation Network
Association for Improv in Business

“Leaping into the Chaos: Embracing the Unexpected” 

San Francisco, CA Oct 13-16, 2004

***  Special Offer!! ***

*** Just Published!! ***

13 for the Price of 1!

"Humor Me" is a collection from 13 of the top Humorists in the US!  It's a book about the power of laughter and humor and about the importance and value of having fun. "Humor Me" is chocked-full of tips on how to inject more humor into your life starting today!   

Check out Izzy's Contribution on Page 82!!

Regular price $16.95
Fall Special:  $12.00 each or 2/$20.00
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Copyright © 1997 - 2004 Izzy Gesell MS Ed CSP All Rights Reserved Worldwide