Course Outcomes

This improv comedy workshop for presenters will:

  • Explore the importance of speaking authentically.
  • Help participants develop their natural stage presence.
  • Show group members how to find, craft, and deliver memorable stories.
  • Explain how to add passion and excitement to a presentation.
  • Share a series of improvisational comedy techniques participants can leverage to enhance their workplace presentations.

Course Overview

Using improvisational comedy techniques to teach presentation may sound like “funny business,” and that’s because it is.  This course shows participants how to think on their feet, appear authentic, and build rapport with their audiences.  Through a series of highly interactive activities, class members will learn how to project a credible image, use stories to inform or persuade, and respond with ease to interruptions, negativity, and other behaviors that can ruin a workplace presentation. Despite its name, this course is not about learning to be a comedian.  Rather, it focuses on developing valuable platform skills using techniques from improvisational comedy.  Like all Business Training Works’ workshops, this one is participant focused. Those who attend can expect to practice their platform skills throughout the day.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Leverage their natural charisma.
  • Appear confident in front of a group.
  • Think on their feet.
  • Build rapport with their audiences.
  • Eliminate weak speaking habits.
  • Craft meaningful stories.
  • Use nonverbal and verbal messages to communicate their points.
  • Respond with ease to tough questions.
  • Apply the tools of improvisational comedy to their workplace presentations.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

The Frame Game: Understanding Improvisational Comedy

This program opens with a series of activities designed to get participants in the mood to improvise.  Once we have set the stage, group members will discover how lessons from improvisational comedy can help them increase their confidence and charisma when they speak in formal and informal settings.  Finally, people will have an opportunity to voice any personal learning goals as they shape the day’s agenda.

You’re a Natural: Finding Your Speaking Strengths

With practice, anyone can give a presentation and give it well.  In this part of the program, participants will work through a series of exercises to find their natural strengths.  This course segment ends with an activity called Expert Interview.  During this exercise, group members will learn how to think on their feet as they respond to questions related to topics about which they know nothing.  This activity’s practical value is in the lessons participants will uncover related to thinking quickly and responding without hesitation.   

Personal Power: Conveying Confidence on the Platform

This program segment begins with an activity called Status.  The facilitator will randomly assign a status to each of the participants.  Then, without words, the group members will project their status using body language and other nonverbal cues.  Following the exercise, we will discuss how messages communicated by those assigned a higher status differed from the other participants’ non-verbal cues.  From there, we will compile a list of actions speakers can take to appear instantly confident and command a stage.

The Setup: Setting the Scene for Success

Audiences are better audiences if they are comfortable with a speaker and they understand why they are there early on in a presentation.  This part of the workshop focuses on rapport building and informing listeners about a talk’s goal.  For example, are audience members attending to learn something, decide something, or be convinced of something? Stating the goal up front frames the discussion.  To make this point, group members will practice several rapport building activities and techniques for creating a connection with those who attend their presentations. 

Sticky Presentations: Using Stories to Connect Content

Stories are the glue that holds a presentation together.  They are also what most people will remember long after they’ve forgotten other details a speaker shared. In this part of the program, participants will discover where they can find stories (everywhere).  Next, we will introduce a technique for advancing and expanding a narrative.  During this activity, the group members will learn how to build a succinct and meaningful tale.

Show Me Something Good: Enhancing Messages with Action and Emotion

Building on the lessons learned in the previous segment, in this part of the workshop participants will practice the art of “story showing” as they demonstrate their points instead of simply talking to them.  Throughout this activity, storytellers will receive coaching and constructive feedback to enhance their platform skills.

Yes, And: Managing Audience Interactions

In this final portion of the workshop participants will learn to manage even the most difficult audiences.  While playing the classic improv game, Yes, And, group members will discover how they can respond professionally and positively to inflammatory statements and challenging questions.

By this program’s conclusion, those who participate should possess a handful of practical tools they can leverage the next time they must take the stage.