Listen to the podcast version of this article below or wherever you find podcasts.
One Word Suggestion: Tickles.
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.
Do you like being tickled?
Turns out people are pretty evenly divided on the subject. One-third hate it, another third are meh, and a third are really into it.
But what’s the point of humans being ticklish if two-thirds of people just don’t like being touched that way?
One theory is that it’s a way for us to learn self-defence from a young age. some of the most ticklish places on the body also happen to be the most vulnerable areas during hand-to-hand combat. So ticklishness might confer an evolutionary advantage designed to help us protect our vital organs.
But no matter how good one might get at fighting off fists and feathers, there have been times throughout history when tickling was intentionally used as torture.
The Chinese reserved tickle torture as punishment for nobility since it left no marks and a victim could recover relatively easily and quickly. The Japanese would allegedly dip victim’s feet in salt water and let goats lick them. And the Nazis used goose feathers to tickle their unfortunate prisoners.
Even my parents were tickle torturers. When I was a kid they used to hold me down and tickle me as punishment. They called it the “Hermie Fermie,” and even though I was laughing, I hated it. A spanking might have been preferred.
For this reason, I got good at turning my ticklishness off. Which at least one girlfriend has been less than impressed by. Why? Because aside from torture, tickles can be a playful, fun, and even sexy way to make a connection.
Even if we don’t want tickles, we crave connection, not just in the bedroom, but everywhere. Perhaps most of all where we spend most of our time. At work.
I’m definitely not suggesting you go around tickling people at the office. But there are lots of little ways you can make meaningful, and even playful connections with your colleagues.
The easiest way to start is not with a feather but with your eyes – eye contact.
Another one that can take more practice than you might think is listening.
A third is learning to laugh at your mistakes and embrace failure as an opportunity to move forward together with your team.
And guess what? PowerProv’s fun team building workshops will help you and your colleagues get great at all three.
Our specially trained facilitators will deliver a workshop filled with tools, ideas, insights and of course laughter. No feather required.
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
Eran Thomson is the Founder of Zuper Superannuation, Laugh-Masters Academy, PowerProv, Comedy & Co, and the Australian Improv Festival.
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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Like what you hear? Listen to Eran’s guest appearances on other people’s podcasts, or invite him to speak at your next event.
Learn about the best improv training for teams at PowerProv.
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