Using the rules of improv for better communications

I recently read Tina Fey's hilarious memoir Bossypants. And her personality, wit and charm are so interwoven into the writing and stories, it makes you feel like you know her – or want to hang out with her at a greasy spoon!

In the book, Fey references the rules of improv comedy and how they can help you navigate life. According to Wikipedia: ‘Improvisation is the practice of acting, singing, talking and reacting, of making and creating, in the moment and in response to the stimulus of one's immediate environment and inner feelings. This can result in the invention of new thought patterns, new practices, new structures or symbols, and/or new ways to act.’ 

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We’re all in showbiz

I've been thinking about this for a while…In social media, we're all in showbiz.  

We have our stage, whether blogs, video or other networks. Our shtick, that is who we are, how we present ourselves and what we choose to do and say. And our audience (for better or worse).

We're out here singing our hearts out (or in my case playing recorder :)) – in the hopes that someone will listen and connect.  Our interactions are public. And the accolades and (savage) critics are always lurking in the wings. 

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There’s no business like Funny Business

I’m proud to say Jeff Silverman has been a good friend of mine for years and I’ve had the opportunity to work with him in various capacities throughout his many entrepreneurial forays. He’s probably best known as the president of Yuk Yuk’s, Canada’s largest chain of comedy clubs (client) and the birthplace of Canadian standup.

Jeff’s also a natural storyteller whose new book, Funny Business: Business Lessons with a ‘Cents’ of Humour, is filled with gems and insights about his rock and rollicking career.  

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You’re killing me with your tone

When I started out as a comedy MC, I used to think killer material was all that mattered. If you had the best jokes, sharpest lines and coolest concepts (and I don’t mean props), you’d win over the crowd every time.

It didn’t take me long to realize how wrong that was.  As much as I hated to admit it, I soon learned that delivery is just as – or in some cases more – important than the writing.  

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Time flies and other cliches

It certainly does zip by. Which is my way of saying that it’s been far too long since my last post. But absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes, it becomes a self-fulfilling habit that’s not so easy to break.

Anyway, I am back now. And don’t worry, you won’t hear a litany of excuses.

Just a couple.

1. It’s been… let’s say a bit of a roller coaster at the office (and I’m more of a bumper car guy myself).

And 2… I’ve been working days and nights. Ahh, entertainment PR. We just finished another hilarious Yuk Yuk’s Laugh Off, a contest where all the comics pull their punches – er punchlines in an attempt to win the $25,000 grand prize. (Second prize? Mac and cheese.) Halifax sketch comic, Mark Little, won with an act that could best be described as wit in geek’s clothing.

This year, in addition to traditional media relations, we added a social media newsroom, Twitter feed and YouTube channel. So that meant we were not only spectators, we were reporting live from the joke-stained trenches. It was a lot of fun. And comedy, with its bite-sized, sharable content seems to be a natural social media fit.

Have a look and let me know what you think.

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