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  • Writer's pictureCharlie Vero-Martin

Improv Online - A New World

I thought long and hard about whether or not to move my improv workshops online. Everything I love about improv, the spontaneity, the chemistry all requires humans in a room together. It doesn't need technology or set or props. It was an excuse to get people away from their desks!

Did I really want to add to people's screen time? Having to make them put up with more lagging video feeds, dodgy sound and locking their kids out of the room?

But the truth is the new working environment and we have to adapt. And as I've always said, one of the key benefits of practicing improv is being able to adapt. So with a kick up my own backside I realised it's time to develop a new approach... and admit that maybe it's my own fear of slow wifi that was stopping me!

Slowing down and making space without losing momentum will be a key skill in how teams communicate online

I've heard a few times now that we cannot compare our standards to how we were before lockdown because that world no longer exists. Now, that doesn't mean lowering our standards but setting new expectations and putting our energy into developing skills that are rapidly becoming more relevant.

There are thousands of improv games that teach us to focus and listen. One of the most important factors in that is waiting to hear what your colleague is saying before responding. In improv online that wait is even more crucial. Slowing down and making space without losing momentum will be a key skill in how teams communicate online.

That doesn't mean we will focus less on spontaneity! Indeed, with people closed in their homes it

has never been more necessary to give the mind room to explore. It's just rather than compounding creativity with speed as many exercises do, I have separated these aspects out so we can develop what is more effective in this new world.

I still believe however that with work/life balance being more skewed than ever, that these sessions should not take up too much time. Usually a workshop could last up to two hours, I personally don't think that would be healthy or beneficial online to anyone at the moment.

The goal is still to enrich the individual whilst building the team and that can be achieved if we appreciate the capacity of both in these times.

Standard sessions are therefore 30-40 minutes for groups of up to 6 and an hour for those up to 8. They are at a considerably lower rate than my usual sessions and can still be made bespoke to your needs.

Good luck and take care. And hey, you might learn some new games to play with your kids!


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