I was talking to a professor of communication yesterday, just casually at Peet’s coffee. We got to talking about the necessary skills for her field.
Turns out the first skill she listed was improv. And it turns out further that we had both taken the same class of improv with Keith Johnstone who wrote the textbook on the subject: Impro.
I would consider this a skill that everyone can use.
The three things I remember from the class is that the way for a conversational reaction to provoke more conversation is to respond with a positive, usually an affirmation and a statement that moves the conversation along. “Hey, beautiful morning?” “Yes, it’s so beautiful that a Zombie would feel like skipping rope”.
That most humor has to do with relative status. The pompous person standing up talking to a person sitting down suddenly gets on his knees.
The most powerful way to get attention is a to use mystery. “Yes, the bulge in my pocket is what he gave me for breakfast.”
I love improv. There is a good improv show on TV called Who’s Line is it Anyway?