This blog is the journey of Lorenc Consulting and Entertainment as we continue to encourage creativity and innovation by using the concepts of improv comedy in everyday life. Any kind of group or organization can benefit from our improv-based corporate training, focusing on team-building, hyper listening and communication skills, and thinking on your feet.

Learn stand up comedy from the pros

by Toby Lorenc

So you're funny, your friends laugh at your jokes and you think you might have a career in improv or comedy?!? Perfect, take the next step and get yourself some training in the areas that interest you.

You can take improv classes to learn how to think on your feet, create content on the spot, and be in the moment. Many of these skills are basic skills we use everyday, but it's not until you understand and are aware of how to hone these skills that you'll truly succeed.  Enroll yourself in an improv class, read some of the great books on improv comedy, and perhaps even join an improv group to get real life practice.

Likewise, if you want to hone you skills as a stand up comic, there are similarities but a different set of skills and learning must also come into play. With stand up comedy, you're on the stage alone.  You don't have a team of people helping you, so it's crucial that you know how to create and write content and jokes that will help you succeed by getting the big laughs quickly. In order to have a killer stand-up routine, you have to learn the pitfalls and the tricks to writing and performing great comedy. Here's a great resource to get you started. You can review 5 lessons for FREE: http://tinyurl.com/standuplessons


OTHER RESOURCES:

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Generate your own fresh ideas on the spot

by Toby Lorenc

As improv actors, we're frequently having to come up with fresh ideas based on the suggestions given to us by the audience. So how do we quickly think of stories and scenes using these suggestions? There are really 3 simple categories from which you get information:


1) Experience - you've been through something personally. It could be a situation with an annoying neighbor, or a probing from an alien.  Either way, you know first hand what it feels like, tastes like, looks like, smells like, sounds like, etc. 


2) Knowledge - you heard it, read it, saw it, and know it for some reason. It's book knowledge over real-life experience.  Although it is possible to gain knowledge from an experience, the two don't always go hand-in-hand.


3) Creation - you have nothing to base it on and you're truly making it up on the spot


So, which do you think is the most powerful source to use when creating a story? And which is the quickest way to inspire a fresh idea?  


Our answer: whenever you can tap into your emotions and personal experiences, you're going to access much richer and long-lasting content.




SWOT some sense into it

by Toby Lorenc

Ever feel confused where to go next with potential opportunities?  Try the SWOT analysis: a quick and easy way to evaluate new programs, ideas, and strategies.


During a strategic meeting today, the leadership team was dropping the phrase, "We should do a SWOT on that" and our admin assistant finally asked me what the hell they were talking about. I'm glad she asked the question - and it made me realize there are some incredibly effective techniques for dealing with new opportunities that many people are not familiar with.


Do you know what SWOT stands for?  It's okay if you don't - you're here to learn.  SWOT is an acronym (that's a word where each letter represents a word - wow, you're learning all kinds of stuff today! including some terrible grammar and punctuation from this blog post!). Anyway, it stands for STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, and THREATS (S.W.O.T.).  As you work with it, keep in mind that typically the 1st two (strengths and weaknesses) are typically internal to the team or organization, the 2nd two are usually external (outside of the company, team or organization).


Here's an example, which hits close to home and is totally transparent:


  • Lorenc Consulting and Entertainment wants to launch corporate training to companies worldwide, using the concepts of improv comedy:
  • (S) STRENGTHS:
  • * We've been doing it for 8 years
  • * Whenever we do it, we get rave reviews
  • * We can customize the training for groups and companies
  • * Our trainers are very knowledgeable on improv
  • * We have worked with large, worldwide clients already
  • * We have a niche market for team building using improv comedy
  • (W) WEAKNESSES:
  • * Schedules of trainers make it tough to schedule
  • * We don't currently have a worldwide reach other than previous clients
  • * Our costs are prohibitive for smaller companies or organizations
  • * Communicating the importance of our message
  • * Creating a sales pitch that encompasses what we do 
  • * Helping organization and teams find value before they see the results of the training
  • (O) OPPORTUNITIES: 
    • Using our connections through Center for Creative Leadership and other worldwide organizations to promote our training
    • * Finding non-profits to "donate" our training hours with hope of word-of-mouth advertising
  • * Making more connections to Organizational Development (OD) professionals
  • * Networking with individuals with whom we've done Confidence Coaching
  • (T) THREATS:
  • * Larger improv groups and training companies taking development money 
  • * Online training and low-cost solutions

Make use of this valuable analysis in your groups, teams and organizations to develop strategies and best use of resources. 

Don't let your confusion stall you from making important decisions. Now that you have this information, you are "in the know" and as GI Joe reminds us, "Knowing is half the battle" - you're welcome for that 80's flashback :)



I am good at...

by Toby Lorenc
Wordle: IamGoodAt

We're all part of teams, groups, committees, clubs, etc. which are working toward a common goal. And wouldn't it be nice if we knew what tools we had right in front of us to accomplish that goal? All you have to do is ask!

 

One of my favorite activities to do with a group is simply having everyone complete the sentence: "I AM GOOD AT..." Have them individually stand up and confidently proclaim what they're good at.  Sure, you're going to get a variety of answers: some people just want to be funny and get attention, some want to brag about something they've done or are working on, and some won't know what to say at all.  Just make sure when you're explaining it that everyone knows there is no wrong answer and it can be as simple as "tying your shoe" but make sure everyone contributes something. The first round, you'll get lots of personal things like sports, musical instruments, parenting, and more.  For the second round, encourage everyone to think of something they're good at that could benefit the group, specifically towards the goals you are trying to accomplish.

 

Do a quick debrief once you get everyone's answer and help them realize they can't work together well unless they know who to turn to when there's a need.  Plus, now that they know what interests people have and what excites them, you're more likely to connect to passion and get better results when specific skills are needed. Between Tim who's "good at being tall and reaching things" and Lacey who's "good at organizing" you just found two great candidates for arranging the storage closet with high shelves.

 

Take it a step further: I have all my clients who I do confidence coaching with write down 5 things a week they are good at.  Keep this list in a notebook - it's tough once you start getting past 10, but that's because people are usually overthinking it and lack confidence. You'll be amazed and encouraged in a few months as you realize the breadth of your skills.

 

For more information on our customized solutions and in-house training, please contact us.


Fully committing to your daily interactions

by Toby Lorenc

I watched The Voice tonight on NBC and a few singers were having a difficult time at their auditions before their head-to-head competition with another singer. Time and time again, the coaches talked to them about committing to the part, committing to the song and committing to themselves that they had the talent to sing some very difficult songs.

 

When training for the improv stage, we talk about commitment.  It's a crucial element in everything we do in a scene.  If we are not fully committed to our characters, our reason for being on stage, or the story we're telling, the audience can tell.

 

Typically, we are not fully committed because of a lack of confidence. Of course, there are many reasons we may not be confident in something, but this hesitation shows and magnifies to the audience as we struggle through the scene we've set up, but haven't committed ourselves to the moment.

 

Sound familiar? Often times in life, people are seen (and probably rightly so) as lacking confidence when they don't commit to what they've "set up" or what they have to accomplish. Whether it's your beliefs, your physical presence, or who you are as a person, if you're not fully in it, you're audience (everyone around you) notices your hesitation and it can be a train wreck.  They start feeling your uncomfortableness and nervousness as you focus on the wrong things.

 

So, what are the wrong things? The negative.  The unknown.  As soon as we start focusing on what we don't know, our minds wander and we begin to picture "worst case scenarios" which distract us from the task at hand. We're suddenly not in the moment and it's obvious.

 

So what does this look like for you in everyday life? It means being present in the moment and doing everything intentionally to accomplish your goals. It means focusing on what you know, not what you don't know. Learning to speak positive thoughts to yourself and putting it all on the line, so that when you walk away you know you couldn't have done it any better.

 

Give yourself the opportunity to succeed instead of the excuses to fail. 

 


Thinking on your feet means having the right focus

by Toby Lorenc

We're all put in situations on a daily basis where we are forced to think on our feet. Spur of the moment meetings at work, questions from our kids, or friends putting us on the spot to come up with an answer, solution, or idea.

Some situations are easier than others to come up with a quick answer - why is that? Obviously, the topic and the personal involvement have a lot to do with it. For instance, if you're told you need to decide where the family is going out to eat, that's usually a pretty easy decision. However, if your boss asks you who he should fire next, you may take a little more time with that one!

Regardless of the topic and the level of your emotionally involvement, here's one of the key things to remember:

Focus on what you KNOW, NOT what you don't know

 

Too often, we destroy ourselves by panicking and worrying about what we don't know. This is when the cold sweats, nervous ticks, and mind blocks take over our decision making process. Instead, confidently respond based on the information you have and ask questions to make sure you fully understand the question set before you.

The concept works wonderfully, but it does take practice and training. Make a conscious decision in your mind to use this method, no matter what the situation, and you'll increase your ability to respond quickly in the future.



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