Improv Improves Toastmasters Skills

Improv-Photo-for-FacebookHow does the popular art form of Improvisational Comedy help members of Toastmasters? Let me count the ways.

Improv Comedy Classes and Performance Groups have been mushrooming internationally over the past decade. Inspired by the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway” and comedians such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Steven Colbert who all studied Improv, there are hundreds of classes and thousands of Improv Players today. These fun and skill building techniques are being taught in schools, universities, health care, mental health (insert Article Below Improv anxiety) and now Toastmasters are learning to have fun and gain greater expertise with Improv Comedy. *see below what is Improv

Many toastmaster clubs in the US and internationally are learning Improv Comedy from trained professionals to add to their toolbox. Some clubs actually devote a monthly class to work with a professional improviser to learn this art form. And one club, Improv Masters San Diego Toastmasters, is a dedicated Toastmaster group of Improvisors!

There are many parallels between Improv techniques and the knowledge people learn in Toastmasters. In Improv we create a supportive environment where members feel respected and able to trust. Visit any Toastmaster group and you will see that same welcoming atmosphere. Studying and playing Improv games helps Toastmasters become more competent speakers, better listeners, and more spontaneous are just some of the benefits.

I’ve been teaching and performing Improv Comedy for several years and quite often people enroll in Improv Comedy to “overcome my fear of speaking in public.” This is the same reason many join Toastmasters as well.

Using Improv Comedy as therapy for anxiety – Kristin Krueger, Ph.D, a leading researcher with the group The Therapy Players

Doctors using IMPROV! – Article from The Atlantic “So Funny, It Doesn’t Hurt”

More about Toastmasters
Toastmasters International offers a program of communication and leadership projects designed to help people learn the arts of speaking, listening, and thinking. The organization grew out of a single club, October 22, 1924. Toastmasters has served over four million people, and today the organization serves over 332,000 members in 135 countries, through its over 15,400 member clubs.

*What is Improv?

Improvisational Comedy is an art form creating dramatic scenes without written dialogue and rehearsals. In other words, making it up as they perform.The main “rule” in Improv is to have fun and play! Improv Comedy came from the work of Viola Spolin, who developed acting exercises or “games” for children during the Great Depression. Her son, Paul Sills, formed the first Improvisational theatre in the US and later went on to be the first director at Chicago’s Second City. Notable alumni from Second City include Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert, Chris Farley, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Mike Myers, and Joan Rivers, among many others.