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How to Communicate On Your Feet in Business

Stick_present_smallCommunication skills are vitally important in business and teams - they determine the effectiveness of a leader and the results achieved from one-on-one discussions and team meetings.  If you are like me, you know this but there is one glaring problem: give me time to analyze the situation and think through what I want to say and I'm good.  Throw something at me that I wasn't expecting and...not so much.  That's probably why I love presenting in front of a room full of people over navigating the dynamics of more intimate groups.

But Improv provides a great tool to help communicate on your feet (improv means to perform spontaneously).  You may have seen an Improv routine or a show like "Who's Line Is It Anyway?".  You probably thought, "there is NO WAY that I could do that."  Surprisingly there are a few tools that actors use to keep the scene moving along that simplifies the process.

One such tool is called "Yes, and...".  When someone makes a statement, you say "yes, and...".  Instead of stopping the flow of the conversation, it is a simple tool that enables you to do two things:

  1. Acknowledge what was said.
  2. Move the conversation to a new place.

Here are some examples:

Person A: "The project is doomed, all of our processes are in trouble, and we have way too much work."

You: "Yes, and what is one thing we can do this week to take a step in the right direction."


Person A: "I don't agree with the decision.  I think we should choose option B."

You: "Yes, and sometimes we have to do things we don't agree with so that we always function as a team."

It is not a magic bullet, but it is amazing how that one little tool helps focus the brain on what to say next as well as provides a nice way to steer the conversation.






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