Thank you to Kat Koppett, who led Improv for The Business Stage earlier today. It was Positive Business DC’s first Webinar and has me thinking about approaching transformation and company culture a bit differently. You can read about my personal epiphany in Modern DC Business. What we’ll cover here takes a completely different flavor—the difference between “yes” and “but.”
Linguists will tell you that “but” has strong negative connotations. Someone says “but” and we hear “no.” The word, “and,” however, is inclusive and without limits. Or is it?
When discussing improvisational tools used within the context of business, Kat and Shannon (Polly) discussed how the Yes/And exercise becomes misapplied. The rule:
You need to see, hear, and receive everything that’s happening and then use an offer—anything your partner says or does—including emotional context and gestures. You accept all that has been offered by your partner is true and then build on it.
The misuse of this tool often stems from playing off the words alone. Subtext provides much more context so you wind up listening to the words and the meaning of everything else the person is trying to communicate. If your partner don’t share anything you immediately key into, then Koppett offers the following suggestion. “What I like about that idea is… ” I like that phrase. It can get you unstuck from pretty much any situation. I’m going to be taking that advice.
To hear how to use the Yes/And and other exercises effectively, we invite you to listen to the webinar (Improv for the Business Stage 10-30-13 11.59 AM). You’ll get ideas that will help you go out on a limb and make your workplace more fun and productive.