February 19, 2015

Arts in the Workplace, Classes & Workshops, How the Arts Influence Business

Is Saying “No” Holding You Back?

Corporate wellness company, Maroto Fitness, was curious about the concept of ‘improv at work,’ so they brought us in for a workshop on Valentine’s Day. Improv facilitator Tioni Collins was absolutely awesome, and the scene work was hilarious AND educational. People were forced out of their comfort zone, and gave their all in every exercise and game. One participant who works in the healthcare industry describes herself as an introvert, but said improv forced her out of her shell, and she wants to do it again!

In this 99u article, The “Yes, And…” Approach: Less Ego, More Openness, More Possibility, writer Scott McDowell states what he’s learned from improv.


Letting go means less ego.

In meetings and team scenarios, we naturally want to hoard control. We care about being right. We think that saying “No” to others gives our own opinions weight. The practice of saying “Yes, and…” inserted a bit of distance between my brain and my ego, and helped me hear other perspectives with openness.”

Read what other lessons Scott McDowell learned.

And, here’s some feedback from past ‘improv at work’ participants:

“The ArtFullness Project pulled me right out of my comfort zone and into a world full of color, creativity, and openness. Nanda reminded me of the benefits of giving even the wildest ideas a chance.  We of course can’t say yes to everything in life and in the workplace, but if we are willing to explore new possibilities, we often have a lot more to gain by working together than by turning someone down even before they finish their sentence.”

Alanna Sobel, communications manager at National Park Foundation

“The ArtFullness Project’s improv class with Nanda was a welcome reminder that we can all use more humor in our lives. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s important to take time to slow down, have a little fun and not take ourselves too seriously. Easier said than done? Nope – just try improv with Nanda!”

Gena Madow, Planned Parenthood

“I enjoyed your improv workshop so much that it has inspired me to do an entire workshop through Washington Improv Theater in the fall!”

Bonnie Rich, storyteller in chief and docu-comedy producer, B.Rich Media

What’s preventing YOU from saying Yes to opportunities in  your life and work?

Jacqueline Lara is president of Mpact PR, LLC, which develops messaging and conducts media relations for nonprofits, entrepreneurs and artists. As creative architect and events producer of The ArtFullness Project, Lara explores creative processes and blogs about the intersection of art and business.