Leadership lessons from improv

First, make your colleagues look good.

We humans don’t make decisions based solely on data; we make them based on emotion, backed with available data. If you want to impact an audience—to influence, affect, inspire them to action—you must tap into emotion. The best way to do that is through stories.

Dan Klein, a lecturer of management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, as well as a lecturer in the theater department, where he teaches improvisation, creativity and storytelling, will lead Execu/Blend™ attendees in a session called “StoryCraft.”

We process information in the world by picking out relevant details and creating stories that link those details together. There are teachable techniques that will boost your natural storytelling skills; Klein’s workshop will identify those techniques, and gives you plenty of safe opportunities to practice, learn and grow.

Improvisation is an important tool in storytelling. And it can be useful in classrooms and at work. Klein spoke about improvisation on Stanford Radio last year and these quotes struck me as especially relevant in the corporate world.


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