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A quick history of Improv Comedy

Improvisational comedy is a style of performance in which everything is made up on the spot, usually from audience suggestions. The style we're familiar with was developed in Chicago in the 1950s. It became particularly popular in North America in the '80s and '90s, bringing us such comic geniuses as Bill Murray and Mike Myers. In the UK it became well-known through Whose Line Is It Anyway? and the Comedy Store. 

Nowadays, most comedians and writers such as Tina Fey and Kristin Wiig have an improv background and you can see everything from improvised plays, sketch shows and musicals. 

What's Improv got to do with business?

Whether it’s in team meetings, client negotiations or that big presentation, being an authentic and effective communicator has never been more appreciated in business. Demands on your ability to engage and think quickly continue to increase but where in current corporate training can you find that edge?

A successful improv comedy team depends on these skills. They regularly rehearse to build high levels of attention and flexibility, as well as confidence and creativity. By practicing the same exercises that help improvisers keep their listening and team work sharp, you can improve your management style and discover that spontaneous flair.

What are the workshops about?

A standard session teaches the value of being in the moment, so that you may communicate more effectively by listening to each other rather than anticipating. As a result teams will boost their creativity and find they are capable of achieving much more together.

After a short consultation, I can tailor the workshop to your team's needs. Here are some themes that may interest you that we can make the focus of your workshop:

  • Effective and efficient communication

  • Creativity and innovation 

  • Team building and well-being

  • Confidence, charisma and presentation 

  • Quick thinking and multitasking

What happens in a workshop?

In-person workshops are a minimum of 1hour for 6-10 people. Groups with more than 15 participants require my assistant for an extra fee. Most exercises will involve everyone standing in a circle but occasionally we will split into smaller groups and pairs. 

The exercises and games come are based on what improv teams practice in rehearsals but will be selected based on the relevance to the theme. Sometimes I will also use my experience from theatre and clowning to bring a more unique and focused approach to an activity. 

Most exercises have various levels so I can work out where the group is comfortable. Once you've mastered one round we can quickly level up!

The bedrock of improv is support and encouragement. While it is good to get out of your comfort zone please be aware that I am an experienced coach and know how to set limits so that everyone feels at ease and in a space where they can explore. 

You will not be expected to tell jokes. This is an improv for business workshop, not Live at the Apollo! 

What happens after the workshop?

Throughout the workshop there will be opportunities to reflect on how the exercises have challenged your way of thinking and how you may approach situations differently in the future. 

You may even choose to continue playing some of the games with your colleagues at future social or team events. Previous clients have said that playing these games at home with their partner or family has also improved their mental wellbeing. 

As part of my service, I offer a free 30 minute refresher session within six months of your initial workshop. Here we can discuss what has worked for you and where you feel you can still improve.

Ideally I would visit on a regular basis to keep you sharp and help you build up your improv skills. 

Do you offer 1-to-1 sessions?

Yes, this service is offered to those in leadership positions who require private coaching. These are very flexible and can be organised to fit around busy schedules.

As usual, I start by offering a free consultation and will create a plan just for you. These are often weekly online meet-ups for 3-4 weeks. 

How do we get started?

If you would like to find out more, please send me an email on or by clicking the link below. 

We will then organise a short consultation so I can find out more about your team and start tailoring a bespoke Improv for Business plan for you.

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