Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has gone on record many times extolling the virtues of stand-up and improvisational comedy. He believes it’s improved his and his team’s business skills.
Needless to say, I agree.
Costolo says, “One of the things you’re always trying to make sure you really pay attention to in improv is staying in the moment and listening.” He adds, “That’s one of the things I tell my new managers.”
Amen. Staying in the moment and listening are fundamental to ANY business executive’s success in any business. But, being trained to take each to a higher level most assuredly provides a competitive advantage.
That’s why we’ve been providing stand-up, improvisation and listening workshops for our entire staff and many a client organization.
Staying in the moment and listening really pays off. For example, our team recently met with a very well-known new business prospect. We were asked to come prepared with the usual PowerPoint deck (i.e. who we are, what we provide, what sets us apart, relevant experience and, of course, a few creative ideas).
But, as soon as I summarized the first two slides, the four prospects began peppering us with one intense question after another. We bagged the presentation and, for the next 60 minutes, stayed in the moment and fully engaged with them. It was clear by their note-taking that they really liked what they heard. Finally, one of them said, “Oops, we’re almost done with our 90 minutes. Are there any slides you think we should still see?” There were a few, and they were well received.
But, we’d already won the day by applying our listening skills and staying in the moment. And, get this, ALL four prospect participants took the time to thank us for a great conversation. How often does that happen?
I’m always amazed at the negative reaction I receive when I tell people we train our entire staff in comedy AND partner with one of the world’s two chief comedy officers, Clayton Fletcher (www.claytonfletcher.com). BTW, the other CCO works at a nuclear plant in Estonia.
Anyway, if you don’t believe me when I say comedy is a huge differentiator in business, take Costolo’s word for it. He’s built a slightly larger company than me and insists new employees study the craft. And that’s no joke.
And a tip’ o’ Rep’s cap to Peppercommer Matt Lester for suggesting this topic.