I recently read this article on CNN about using Improv techniques to improve your communication skills and boost your presence in a room. The three main skills they stressed are:
1. “Yes, and …”: This technique helps keep a conversation going and even move it into new directions. When someone says something to you or asks you a question, instead of just replying “yeah” you say “Yes, and …” From the article, you can see how it can really be a conversation booster. Plus, it is the foundation of the next two skills.
2. Go with your gut: Don’t second guess yourself. That’s how you get “um” and “uh” scattered throughout your sentences. Instead, go with your first and best guess. Just let the conversation flow and don’t stop. Utilize the “Yes, and …” by deflecting the conversation in a new direction or back at the other person.
3. Make everyone else look good: Again, the “Yes, and …” can come in handy. When someone asks you a question, instead of hogging the conversation, bounce the conversation back to someone else giving them a chance in the sun. This works out great for everyone! You look good, because you can share the spotlight, other people love you because you have given them a chance to share their knowledge/expertise/experience with the group, and the conversation keeps on moving.
I really suggest that you take a chance to read this article. I think you’ll really find it useful. I’ll be trying this out tonight in fact!