Improvisation Training (IT) for Organizational Development and Performance


1-day and 2-day Training tailored to your organization’s needs (timing can be extended)

What is Improvisation Training (IT)?

IT is a highly-developed method of role-play that trains people to choose alternatives to their habitual ways of behaving in the present moment. IT promotes confidence, social skills and flexibility by exploring and expanding the limits of “who else you can be” instead of directing attention to “who you are.” The interactive IT methods, effective with most people, teach principles of good interpersonal functioning and are applicable to:

  1. Interpersonal Communication Skills
  2. Leadership Development
  3. Team-Building
  4. Managing Teams
  5. Facilitation Skills (for trainers)
  6. Creativity
  7. Personal Effectiveness
  8. Sales Training
  9. Managing Change

What are the Origins of IT?

IT was developed by Daniel J. Wiener, Ph.D., a psychologist who, beginning in 1985, adapted theater improvisation techniques to psychotherapy and relationship skills training. Dr. Wiener’s book, Rehearsals for Growth, was published by W. W. Norton in 1994.

What are the methods used in IT?

IT methods are brief, tested, interactive exercises, requiring no prior experience or skills, which are presented along with discussion and didactic segments. IT role-plays often go beyond realistic simulations. IT draws on a pool of over two hundred exercises.

Exercises are organized according to these principles:

  • accepting offers
  • paying attention to others
  • advancing the action
  • supporting others to look good

. . . and objectives:

  • freeing the imagination
  • expanding emotional range
  • encouraging spontaneity
  • breaking conventional logic
  • giving up over-control
  • getting others into trouble playfully
  • using voice and body fully
  • utilizing narrative skills in co-creating adventures
  • attending to status (power) transactions

What are the benefits of IT?

  1. Responding flexibly and adaptively to change, particularly when unexpected. [overcoming the reflexive fear of being changed]
  2. Identifying and delivering desired support to others; identifying and fully receiving desired support from others. [attending to what is actually supportive and what creates receptivity]
  3. Thinking “on your feet”. [becoming accustomed to utilizing spontaneity]
  4. Handling failure without fear. [learning to give up “overcontrol”]
  5. Locating problems and solutions in the space between people, rather than inside of self and/or others. [attending to “fit” rather than to “personality”]
  6. Attending to the personal use of Status in dealings with others. [intentionally adjusting behavioral cues signifying personal importance relative to others]
  7. Practicing non-habitual behaviors for greater effectiveness.