Unlock Your Employees' Profit Potential With An Improv-Comedy Workshop!Commentary • workplace • careers • Opinion • office • finance • ISSUE 41•11 • Mar 16, 2005 By Matt Litton Matt Litton What's your company's most important asset? The computers? Sure, you need those. The telephones? The office chairs? You need those, too. But your company has something a whole lot more important than any of these things. Your company's most important asset is your staff. You probably spend a lot of money updating your software, but how much money do you spend improving staff morale? Hi, I'm Matt Litton, and I'd like to tell you how a visit from my improv troupe One Dozen Eggs could be the key to unlocking your company's profit potential. Some people think improv comedy—short for improvisational comedy—is just fun and games. But it's actually fun, games, and a chance for productive team-building. Fostering an environment that encourages creativity and innovation pays off in the long run. The more fun people are having, the more engaged they'll be in their work—and the more money your company will make. Convinced yet? As we members of One Dozen Eggs say, there's no time like the present to "get cracking." For only $500, three members of our troupe will come to your office—or an alternate off-site location—and lead your staff through a series of invigorating games and exercises. The best part? Everyone will be too busy having fun to realize they're learning how to cooperate! Actually, if you wanted to move quickly on this, we're available any day next week except for Tuesday. Here's a little exercise that's very popular with our clients in sales. We bring one of the company's top salesmen up on stage and ask him to place an imaginary sales call to one of our improv pros. Now imagine how your employee will fare on a cold call to—a giant sea tortoise! "Helllooo theeere. I'm swimming in the Atlaaantic Oooocean." Who might answer the phone next? Richard Nixon? Elmer Fudd? An auctioneer? After a few of these off-the-wall cold calls, your staff will be able to handle any situation the normal workday throws at them. In fact, they'll look forward to a call with a resistant and distracted buyer! They'll think, "At least he isn't speaking complete gibberish!" One Dozen Eggs has more than 25 years of combined professional improv experience, and we are the only improv troupe in the Quad Cities area offering corporate workshops. Last week, we won the Bright Bulb award at Davenport's Comedy Sportz March Madness Improv-Off. A recent article in the Weekly Bystander described our show as "energetic, non-stop fun," and our corporate workshop has received rave reviews from companies like Coventry Health Care, Driskel Hummer, and Wendell & Reed Financial Services. Why not let us work our magic with you? If you're sick of the contrary attitude prevalent in many offices, we've got a great exercise to get your company back on the path to success. It's called "Yes, And... "Here's how it goes: Your staff stands in a circle and begins to tell a story. Not a story that anybody knows—one that is completely made up on the fly. Each of your employees will add one sentence to advance the plot of the story, but that sentence has to begin with "Yes, And..." It might go a little something like this: "A man gets on a bus. Yes, and there is a woman on the bus. Yes, and they are both in Baltimore. Yes, and it's the morning. Yes, and the man sits next to the woman." See? No one shoots down anyone's ideas in this game! And everyone has loads of fun! Before you know it, every member of your staff will know how to listen and feel comfortable expressing ideas. Good communication is the key to a good office environment, after all. Here's an improv game that's great for managers and workers alike: It's called "What are you doing?" Two people get on stage, and one of them begins miming an action. It could be casting a fishing line, making a sandwich, or watching a scary movie. After a couple of seconds, the other one asks, "What are you doing?" and the first person can say anything but what they're actually doing. As soon as the first person answers, the second person must begin doing what his partner said he's doing. After a moment, the original partner will say, "What are you doing?" Well, that one's a little confusing to explain, but it's easy to demonstrate. The best part is that "What are you doing?" is a great way to take the stigma away from good supervisory management. For weeks after the workshop, a manager will be able to poke his head into his employees' cubicles, ask them what they're doing, and get hilariously crazy answers like "knitting a sweater." Then the manager can say, "Seriously, what are you doing? You're not shopping online, are you?" But the joke question really helps break the tension. Maybe you feel your employees are already doing great work. Then they'll amaze you after their Friday afternoon improv workshop. There's no way you won't earn back the cost of our fee—which, by the way, is negotiable—in the increased staff morale and productivity. And don't worry about off-topic humor: Our content is rated E, for "every employee has fun."