Being good at improv comedy isn’t a matter of being funny. Being good at improv comedy is a matter of being creative and having the ability to think on your feet, which is why, even if you’re amish man on rumspringa, improv comedy can be helpful for your professional growth! Taking a few improv comedy courses can make you a better communicator, presenter, and, even a better job interviewee. So while we can’t all be the next Tina Fey, we can at least all learn a thing or two about how improv can help us in an interview setting. (It’s also really, really fun!) Here are three reasons your improv comedy classes might pay off in the board room:
1. How Improv Comedy Can Help You In a Job Interview: Thinking on Your Feet
The beautiful (and horrifying) thing about improv comedy is that you never know what is going to come next; You might start your scene with your belt being used to hold up your pants, but by the end of it your belt may be an anaconda that you have to decapitate before you can suck the snake venom from your partner’s leg. *Crucial: This is not a suggestion to take off your belt during a job interview.* However, this is a suggestion to be ready for everything and anything.
How many times have you been in a job interview and had to think for a moment or two about a question? Unless you’re a sociopathic robot who navigates through life mechanically, or a non-theatrical reincarnation of a character played by Liam Neeson, then you have probably experienced this. A typical gut reaction to a situation like this is usually, “Shit, crap, oh no, they’re going to think I’m unprepared!” A quivering voice and subpar answer will typically ensue. However, a person trained in improv comedy would see this as an opportunity! The unexpected is highly valued in improv because it refutes the mundane and beckons a creative opportunity, making for an interesting scenario. The point is to keep the scene going and to keep the audience paying attention, which really isn’t that different from a job interview.
2. How Improv Comedy Can Help You In a Job Interview: “Yes, and…”
There are many rules in improv comedy, but the number one rule of improv comedy is this: Do not deny. Do not deny your partner, do not deny a scene, do not deny a role.
Go with the flow. If your partner says you’re an astronaut, you’d better buckle in for the (Sally) ride. Don’t deny, but always add. Adding to the scene makes it progress and it adds a more interesting element by adding specificity to the scene. For example:
Partner: “Ugh, there’s nothing to watch on television.”
You: “What do you mean? We just passed Ballers featuring Dwayne Johnson!”
Partner: “You watch that trash?”
You: “Hey, you have no room to critique my television preferences when you have the entire Twilight saga on your bookshelf over there.”
In improv, you add details to a scene to make it more interesting, and that same logic can be applied to a job interview. Let’s play this logic out with a job interview:
Interviewer: “So it says here that you worked at Pier 1 Imports for 11 months.”
You: “Yes, and during that time I also completed my associates degree in World Languages and worked part-time at a tutoring center.”
Interview: “What’s your biggest asset to our company?”
You: “I am great with numbers and I have garnered a vast amount of insight and experience from my previous jobs, much like how I hope to garner a vast amount of insight and experience from your company.”
The point is to add upon and be specific, two skills improv comedy teaches you how to do. If you can make up an entirely fictitious scene in improv and keep adding specific details to keep the scene going, you will definitely be able to add specificity about your actual life into a job interview!
3. How Improv Comedy Can Help You In a Job Interview: The Positivity Rule!
In improv (and life) it’s much easier to keep a scene going if it starts out positively. Keeping it positive allows for more versatility in a scene because it’s much easier to go from positive to negative than from negative to positive. Here’s an example:
You: “Everyone thinks your haircut is weird.”
Partner: “It’s actually a wig.”
You: “Oh yeah, what’s it made of?”
You: “Everyone thinks your haircut is weird, but in like a really hip and trendy and socially acceptable way.”
Them: “Thanks, it’s called a colander cut. Similar to the bowl cut, but choppier.”
You: “Did you actually use a colander to cut your hair?”
Them: “Well, let me tell you the whole story…”
And the rest is history! Starting out on a positive note allows room for added details and opens the door to broach more interesting topics. This is also true for a job interview. For example, don’t start off a job interview by talking mad slack about your old boss or old job. Not only does it come off as unprofessional, but it also makes you seem like a Debbie Downer. And no one likes a Debbie Downer. Not even Debbie Downer’s mom.
Are You Ready to Take An Improv Class?
The moral of the story: In order to succeed in the workforce, and to get a job in the first place, you need to take improv classes. Absolute must. Sound good? Tell us about how your improv class prepared you for job interviews in the comments below!