Improvising with Intention

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As an omnichannel commerce and ad agency, creative thinking is our bread and butter. But being creative only matters if we can communicate our ideas effectively—within our team, to our clients, and to the world.

To continue to adapt to a changing marketplace, our Covington, KY, office enlisted the help of Improv Cincinnati to refresh our creative communication skills, push us outside of our comfort zones, and share a few (OK, a lot of) laughs!

Here are some of our takeaways:


Are you a “yes, and” person or a “yes, but” person?

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One person builds on an idea, the other tears it down. Obviously, brainstorming solutions to a challenge will require some back-and-forth discussions, but being conscientious about how you approach an idea can shape not only the direction of the conversation, but also your relationship with team members.

Not quite sure what this looks like? Try telling a story with someone where each person starts their response with “Yes, and” and see where that takes you. Then try doing it again, this time with “Yes, but” responses. You’ll find that one route will take you further and leave you both feeling more optimistic than the other.

 Pictured Right: Ali and Malcolm are demonstrating how a “yes, but” conversation might feel like tug-of-war. 


Listening to understand vs. listening to respond

Imagine an exercise where a group of people tell a story together—the catch being that a facilitator chooses who tells each part of the story randomly. For the story to make sense, each person would need to listen closely to the people who preceded them—obvious, right?

But nervousness or being overprepared can force people to rehearse a response in their heads before it’s their turn, which means that their part of the story may not make sense. The person after them would then be forced to double back to fill in plot holes…wasting time and making the story less appealing.

Often, work passes through our agency quickly, and aligning schedules to facilitate effective collaboration can be a challenge. This exercise was a great demonstration of how to make conversations and meetings more meaningful to the end goal—excellent work that delivers. To do this, we first and foremost listen to understand each other and our clients.

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Aimee, Mike, Will, Malcolm, and Maria (L-R) had to listen closely to each other to pick up the story
where the other left off.


A picture is richer when every color is included.

OK, that was a little cheesy. But the point is that diversity and inclusivity shouldn’t be viewed as checkboxes to fill, but rather as a way to create a better product, thanks to the inclusion of different perspectives and lived experiences.

Throughout our improv exercises, we were often delighted to discover how an obvious and seemingly predictable storyline would develop into something unexpected and interesting as each person added ideas from their unique perspectives.

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Everyone added something new and unexpected to our human montage scene.
Can you guess what picture we created?

Clear and effective communication is at the heart of every powerful ad campaign. But it’s also important to our work, relationships, and personal growth. Thanks to Improv Cincinnati, we got a chance to refresh our communication skills, build closer relationships with our team, and have some fun.

If you’re interested in holding an improv workshop with your friends, family, or team, contact Improv Cincinnati.

And if working with an agency that communicates clearly, transparently, and creatively sounds like a good fit for your business, contact us here to get started.


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