One Word Suggestion: Feelings
Welcome to One Word Suggestion.
Most people think improv is just for comedy or jazz music. But, really, it’s a tool for life. For each article in this series I use a single word, suggested by you, as a leaping off point to explore how having an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level, both personally and professionally, whether you have a career on or off the stage.
Much loved Chicago improviser and coach Jason Chin once said: ‘’it’s our emotions that tell us who we are.’’
And yet I think many of us reject, push down, or don’t listen to our feelings in everyday life.
One of our Melbourne Teachers, Ella Lawry wrote an entire blog post about how we try to avoid our emotions, reject negative feelings and, feel ashamed when we’re not in control of them.
She says the way you react to people, situations and events will tell you so much about your values, and that examining, rather than avoiding them, is an important and worthwhile pursuit. And I agree.
The world of improv creates a rich and safe context within which to explore your feelings and emotional truths with other people. And it does it in a way that reveals insights possibly more profound than those gathered through normal conversation or in situations where we might feel inclined to keep our guard up.
I’ve seen it in every single improv class we teach or corporate training workshop we run at LMA.
On the outside, each participant is having a nearly identical experience, but on the inside, in their minds, they are all feeling different things and all kinds of amazing new connections are being made.
For more advanced improvisers, one of the most important things to remember is to just say what you feel. Feeling emotions in improv enables audiences to enjoy a deeper level of connection and comedy – and so scenes become way more captivating to watch. This is why the best movies, stories or memories, have a strong tie to an emotional hook.
Just remember to go deeper than sad, glad, mad. These get tired after a while. If you’re struggling in a scene, think back on a strong memory.
Your grandma’s kitchen, your first apartment, your favorite bar – all of these things elicit emotion, which leads to the memory of smells, details, and environments that you can use to bring new dimensionality to your scenes.
By exploring your real emotions and using those feelings to drive authentic and entertaining reactions you give audiences more of what they came for.
Offstage, I encourage you to just be you. As we grow up we get taught to hide our feelings, put on a mask of strength, but to feel is to be real. To feel is to be human.
And improv, if anything, is filled with some of the most feeling, caring, and wonderful humans you’ll ever come to know.
If you want to suggest a word for next week, or add your perspective, drop me a note in the comments or in a review. I’m making one of these every week, for a year, so definitely subscribe, like, share, and all that jazz.
Or better yet, listen to the podcast.
And in the meantime, if you’re interested in improv for personal growth, professional achievement, or just for fun, my suggestion is to get yourself into an improv class or book a corporate training workshop for your team.
You can learn all about PowerProv’s programs at powerprov.com.au
About One Word Suggestion
The One Word Suggestion series is your personal toolbox full of ways to help you use the power of improvisation to craft a more mindful and meaningful existence. Available as articles, a podcast, and soon, a book filled with powerful exercises for teams.
The One Word Suggestion Podcast with Eran Thomson
In each 3-minute episode, Eran uses a single word, suggested by listeners, as a leaping off point to explore how developing an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level personally and professionally.
Whether you aspire to be better on stage or on the job, this quick hit of improv inspiration is sure to bring you some insights, perspective, and joy.
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