Dan Pink and Improv Skills

Dan Pink is coming out with a new book on December 31, 2012.  It’s called, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.  To “sell”, for him, includes much of what we do all day which is convince, persuade and motivate people to do what we want or need them to do.

An applied improv colleague of mine, Lindsey, has been emailing with him about improvisation and like little schoolgirls amped up about a cute teacher, we’ve gotten excited each time there’s been contact.  Lindsey recently sent me a link to a video of Dan talking about his new book.  In the video there is a section where he talks about what skills are needed to sell/persuade/motivate and he says “the three skills of improvisation are possibly THE most important skills to have for persuading people.”

Those of you who know what I’ve been up to for the past 5 years know why I’m excited about this.  The skills of improvisation are what I’ve been promoting and training in my management, customer service and teambuilding workshops.  So those of you who’ve been in them, we’re ahead of the curve.  For those who may not have understood why I’m so excited about the skills of improvisation, I’m hoping that Dan’s book will clarify the need.

In my work with libraries, these are the skills I focus on the most, all of which must be practiced with the spirit of “Yes, And.”

  • Be Present
  • Listen
  • Support your partner
  • Take risks

I guess I’ll have to buy Dan’s book to find out what three all important skills of improvisation he chooses.

In my pondering what Dan will call his three important skills I got inspired to poke around to see how other applied improvisers talk about the skills of improvisation.  (I’ve done it many times before, since it’s a relatively new field, there is always something new to discover.) Here’s a list of skills that make perfect sense when you think about improvisational theater.   They are also absolutely relevant to libraries thinking about the future.

  • Notice more
  • Be changed by what you hear
  • Accept offers
  • Let go of your agenda
  •  Embrace constraints
  • Make the other people look good

No matter what the exact language, the intention behind all of this is to have us all reduce stress, communicate better and do more creative solution finding to serve our communities.  Thanks Dan.

One thought on “Dan Pink and Improv Skills

  1. Love, love this! Thanks for the heads up about the new Daniel Pink. And for the reminder to be present. I tend to get ahead of myself a lot.

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