I recently attended a great Hoosier PRSA luncheon with the theme of “Improv for PR Professionals.” I signed up initially because I was intrigued. How could improv be directly applied to public relations?
Well, it turns out we were schooled in how improv can not only apply to public relations, but to all aspects of our lives. We often go into situations (whether they be work, school, relationships or otherwise) where we might be prepared–to an extent. What goes on beyond past preparation and what can be planned is completely improv.
We were shown different ways to embrace these improv situations, and keep our cool. Some key points I took away were:
- “Discover” rather than try to “invent” an idea
- Never block an idea; always answer someone with a “Yes” answer
- Most people believe that you don’t want to listen to them, so assure them you want to hear their thoughts and ask questions
- One of the greatest needs of humans is to be understood
When asked to reflect on how what we learned could be applicable in a real-world setting, it was surprising how many people said they could not only apply it to their work life but their personal relationships (spouses, friends and family).
Perhaps the biggest take-away was that listening, being supportive, and making sure a person knows that you understand them can seem simple, it’s much harder to actively apply in your life. Food for thought!