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.

Dear Cell Phone Please Remember This Moment

by Toby Lorenc
 

Our cell phones provide us with a quick connection to others, give us access to a world of information and bring conveniences to life we couldn't have even imagined just a decade ago. But what are we losing with this ever-changing technology? 

Are avid picture takers filtering their lives? 
Some good friends of mine are avid photo snappers no matter what we're doing: a lunch in the park, a concert at our favorite local venue, beers at a brewery...it doesn't matter. They love taking pictures with their cell phones. Lots of pictures. After they capture a multitude of random shots, it's now a project of doctoring up the photos with filters and color options, deciding the best social networks to post them on, figuring out the absolutely best captions to peak the interest of their friends and get the most "Likes". I often get frustrated and I finally figured out why it bothers me so much: I just want to experience the moment.   

Experience the moment, it's right in front of you
There is constantly a beautiful world in front of me and all around me! Why would i want to cram it into a small window when I have a 360 degree view to take it all in, tap into all my senses and form amazing memories that are strongly connected to emotions and feelings which I can carry with me as a life experience. Don't get me wrong, I do take pictures but I don't need to my phone to remember it for me. Rather I want to be in the moment and never miss a detail because I'm trying to decide on the best caption or tag my friends in a photo of the experience directly in front of me. I'll often take a few photos and post them later when I'm back home or not in the moment I want to enjoy. The same is true with improv comedy. Being in the moment is a crucial skill when you're on stage, and it's true for all of us in everyday life. If we are distracted by something that is directly pulling us away from the here and now, we're missing important details. These may be comments from others, changes in our environment, or subtleties that can easily and quickly be missed. Not to mention the barriers you're putting up by stubbornly doing your own thing and capitalizing the moment with your own agenda.  Sure, that may sound strong, but for my sake, take the opportunity to enjoy and engage in the moment in front of you. And I promise, you don't need your phone to do it.



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 :)



Don't change who you are, just figure it out

by Toby Lorenc

Confidence guyWe work with various individuals as part of our Confidence Coaching program - basically, it's an opportunity for you to claim what you are good at, become aware of what you need help with, and be intentional about getting better! 

Everyone is different, and we're not about changing you.  Simply, we want you to have the opportunity and safe environment to try new things, plus get direct feedback about the good and bad. 

Let's not change who you are - your talents, personality, mannerisms, and even quirks define you as a person.  Instead, let us help you be aware of these unique factors and learn how to use them to your benefit.


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. 

 


Improv Your Life

by Toby Lorenc
"I want to think quicker on my feet"Learn to think quicker on your feet using the concepts of improv comedy
"I want to learn to be more confident"
"I need help listening to others"
"I wish I was more creative"

So maybe you don't have a lifelong goal of being an improv actor, but there are many ideas and practices of improv comedy which can build your self-esteem, creativity, confidence and spontaneity.

Our goal is to truly help you Ignite Your Thinking by teaching you the concepts of improvisational comedy and how they apply to your everyday life.

When's the last time someone asked you in a meeting to give a short summary of a project or tell the team what you learned on your latest business trip? How did you do? Were you able to quickly and coherently provide an on-the-spot speech? Our goal at Ignite Your Thinking is to give you the core elements you need to be successful in these types of situations and to "improv your life."

For instance, many of us freeze up when someone asks us a question or puts us on the spot.  I would challenge you that we often focus on the things we DON'T know instead of what we DO know. Learning to find the details and capture the essence of what you know on any topic will help you become more confident and secure in your responses to others.

We teach these concepts in a fun, low-pressure environment so you can practice and understand the concepts.  Certainly, some people are born with the natural ability to quickly respond and exude confidence in front of others.  The good news is, these talents can be learned and practiced by anyone who has the desire to learn, just like riding a bike, playing a musical instrument, or any other talent.

Contact us for more information on upcoming classes. Our next class is Saturday, July 16th from 9am - 12pm at the East Library in Colorado Springs.  The cost is $50 per student and you'll walk away with the building blocks to improv your life.


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