In improv, we have guidelines or rules that we follow, even though we are making things up on the spot. They are kind-of like your companies’ Mission Statement and Values Statements., If everyone buys into them and follows them, at least you have a common foundation on which to build. Improv is the same way. We may not know what the suggestion is going to be from the audience, but we know everyone we are performing with on stage agrees to certain “terms and conditions” to play.
One of those improv values is Give and Take. We have to make sure we are taking care of everyone on stage, to make sure everyone gets a chance to yes, and (like we talked about last week) and add to the scene. If it’s just one person talking the whole time, it lets me know a.) they are new and nervous or b.) a stage hog. And no one likes to play with a stage hog.
In “real-life” conversations, it’s the same way, isn’t it? We all like to have some give and take in our conversations – especially in a sales situation. If the salesperson is talking the whole time, when are they going to learn about what the customer really needs? If I see a salesperson get int his mode I know that the are a.) very new and nervous or b.) a stage hog. And no one likes to BUY from a stage hog either! It’s better to slow the conversation down, and listen waaaay more than you talk, and when you do talk, remind people of what you heard them say. They will think you were reading their minds, because they don’t even remember that they just said what you repeated…because they don’t understand the “give and take” factor. This is also true in personal conversations – give the other person a chance to talk too – you might just learn something new!
This week, I challenge you to practice the “Give and Take” method of conversation. See if being aware of this new way of looking at conversations helps you understand the situation better. Even if you aren’t actively involved in the conversation, just watch two people in action. What do you notice? Is one person better at give and take than the other? Are they mutually agreeable in this area? Or is one person a “stage hog”?