How to 'Improv' communication in teams?

Sound and Motion Circle  by Miria Varghese

Sound and Motion Circle by Miria Varghese

If you grew up in the 90's, you may recall, "Whose Line is it Anyway?" the Improvisation Comedy show hosted by Drew Carey, where studio audience suggest ideas for games and skits performed by Improv artists. Started in Britain, the show aired in the US from 1998 - 2007. In 2013, the show was relaunched with Aisha Tyler as the host along with star performers Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie.

The premise of the show was simple but brilliant: Performers took seemingly simple ideas and made it funny - on the spot! Performers played off each other’s cues and then responded quickly and creatively. While the show’s success was its ability to make us laugh, it also demonstrated some vital workplace skills:

“Active listening, Thinking on your feet, and Teamwork.”

While being able to communicate is important at every stage of life, it's the workplace that serves as its toughest crucible. Between making a sales pitch, giving the elevator speech, attending a job interview or leading a meeting, your communication skills are being tested, often on the spot and with no second chance!

If communication and thinking on your feet plays such a crucial role at the workplace, what can you do to be a better manager, a team player or a sales rep?

Be better equipped, of course!

Designed in a fun way to reduce inhibitions, the team at ArtPropel applies the basic principles of Improv to offer training sessions for the workplace.

Improvisation games like 'Yes, And' help participants understand the power of using positive statements when responding to ideas shared at work, thus encouraging open communication and better decision making.  

Similarly, taking part in a game of 'Who, What, Where' teaches players to establish basic information through a three-part conversation, as a way to increase clarity in communication and improve overall efficiency among teams.

To learn more on Improv and how it can help teams forge ahead, follow us on facebook, twitter or reach out to us at

Time for coffee yet?

Photo by bgton/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by bgton/iStock / Getty Images

 How do you like your coffee? I like mine, black, with no sugar. I love everything about it - the aroma, the color, the taste, and especially its warmth. It doesn't matter how you take yours, the truth is, we've all come to depend on it, to get us through the day. I'm not talking about the one to two cups we need first thing in the morning - I'm talking about that craving we get later in the day. 

As it turns out, dreaming about coffee or food or anything other than the work at hand is the body's way of telling us, that the brain is slowing down. We turn to caffeine or food as a way to beat that slump. But do we really need to add calories to wake the brain? Or should we just get smart about it? The answer lies in the groundbreaking research by sleep scientist Nathaniel Kleitman and his discovery of the Ultradian Rhythm. 

Artwork by Roan Varghese

Artwork by Roan Varghese

The Ultradian Rhythm or the Basic Rest Activity Cycle (BRAC) is a cycle that moves from high performance to low performance over 90-120 minutes. When we feel alert and focused, we are riding the high energy wave around the 70 - 100 minute mark. This high energy is followed by a slowing down in the last 20 minutes that makes us distracted and unproductive. Once we pass the slump, we feel the energy starting to climb back up again. 

How does this impact you?

  • 68 % employees are not actively engaged in their work, according to Gallup poll 2016
  • working non-stop leads to stress and inefficiency
  • the period between the waves of high-performance is vital for creativity 

What can you do about it?

The solution to beat the upward downward cycle, according to experts, is to alternate between tasks that need the most attention with activities that are less taxing on the brain. In other words, relaxing for 20-min between the waves of high performance makes you more productive, than if you ignored the dip in energy and plowed through.

Nap pods, yoga rooms and puzzle stations are fast becoming trends at the workplace to help employees stay focused, more efficient, and less anxious.

How can we help?

At ArtPropel, we understand rest and rejuvenation are vital for peak performance. Our one-of-a-kind workshops in Drawing, Music and Improv combines team-building with rejuvenation giving employees the break they need to maintain workplace efficiency, optimize productivity, build community, spark creativity, boost morale and thereby keep coffee/ food cravings at bay!

 For ideas on improving productivity, sparking creativity or inspiring teams in your organization sign-up here .