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General Session: Yes, And in Action: Improv Principles and Games for Better Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity

October 2, 2023 @ 4:20 pm 5:30 pm

Confidence, creativity, and supportive collaboration are essential for improv performers as they engage and create magic without a script. These same skills serve as core competencies for leaders off the stage. In this applied improv workshop, you will be introduced to improv principles and exercises, allowing you to rehearse and refine your abilities to become a more engaging communicator, effectively foster collaboration, and discover creative solutions to critical problems.

Lori Pitts, Washington Improv Theater


Rules of Improv

  • Trust each other. 
  • Say “I got your back” to each other. 

Rock, Paper, and Scissors Game

  • Losers become fans of the winner and continue to cheer on the winner with each bout. 
  • Lesson learned:
    • No one loses. Everyone shifts perspective and supports each other. 

1,2,3 counting Game

  • In pairs, players count 1, 2, and 3 back and forth. If a player experiences a brain freeze, high-five each other and start again.
  • Lesson learned:
    • The goal is to realize how mistakes can lead to a reset, instead of quickly accusing each other of their failures.
    • Judgment and creation shouldn’t happen at the same time. 
    • Hold off on judging while you’re creating and it will yield the most optimal results. 
    • When you have a plan, it’s easy to think everything needs to go according to plan. Instead, if things don’t go according to plan, flip your perspective and rephrase the unexpected as a gift of opportunities. Utilize it as an improv and capitalize on the opportunity.

Sound and Motion Game 

  • Someone starts with a sound and motion, the group repeats it one by one. 
  • Lesson learned:
    • Normalize silly behaviors.
    • Don’t focus on finding mistakes in others as it can harm your creativity and own work.
    • Taking risks can be rewarding.


  • Creativity is a skill, not a trait. Since it’s a skill, you can get better at it. Keep practicing to expand on it. 
  • Explore different ways to be creative. Pull in your environment for inspiration. 
  • When you’re poaching, pull from different sectors to get ideas. 
  • Wait, wait, don’t tell me podcast – Lori’s podcast recommendation. 

Two Minutes Writing Prompt

  • How can you make this room better? – Come up with as many ideas as you can in 2 minutes. 
  • Lesson learned:
    • Constraints can be your friend as they can help with your creativity. Constraints: time, money, staff, 
    • Flip your goal to get new insights. Ex: How can I make this room better → What is the world’s worst room ever? This can help you realize items you’ve overlooked and taken for granted. 
    • Attendees’ suggestions for advocacy campaign brainstorm:
      • Think of the most absurd ideas and then flip it into actionable items.
      • Time crunch pressure helps with priorities. 
      • Think of “World’s Worst ___” → flip it and create new ideas.
      • What’s dirt here is gold somewhere else. 

Tree-Nut-Squirrel Game

  • Association game of words/phrases spoken in a group.
  • Lesson learned:
    • Not judging yourself.
    • One person’s being bold → helps everyone embrace it.
    • You have each other’s back.
    • It’s a “Yes, and…” principle.
    • Important principles in improv, which help with problem-solving.


October 2, 2023
4:20 pm – 5:30 pm
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