Understanding story and communication: corporate training to help your marketing
When it comes to finding corporate training to help your marketing efforts, improv is an option you may not have considered.
There are many types of corporate training to help your marketing and build your company and personal branding.
We’ve taken a look at the similarities between marketers and comedians. Could the tools they learn to develop their skill sets be one and the same?
Improvised comedy (improv) is a fun and accessible way to get better at communicating and collaborating.
Marketing is a collaborative process to communicate your message. Sounds like a match made in heaven!
Here are some ways that improv can help your marketing.
Understand story and how to use it
Understanding story and how to use it is a fundamental skill in both improv and marketing.
Storytelling is a powerful tool. It’s a universal language that helps you connect with your customers, your team, and make your ideas more memorable.
Every brand, company and individual has a story, but if you don’t know how to tell it properly, it can’t help you connect with your audience.
The best way to understand storytelling is by looking at how it works in improv. Improvisers use story as an organising principle for their scenes: they start with an idea and then build outwards from there. In this way, they can take any situation or object and turn it into something interesting – and funny!
While you may not want all your marketing to be “haha” funny, it’s the same principle as making something stand out. This is a key way that improv makes for the perfect corporate training to help your marketing.
Learn to be flexible
Marketing requires flexibility. Whether it’s due to new ideas, the need to react to trends, or because metrics are telling you that you need to adjust your approach.
Improv training can help your marketing by conditioning you to be in the moment. Improvisers never know what’s coming their way and are rarely able to think further than one line ahead. This is because their scene partner’s input can change everything.
The same is true in marketing. If you put out an advert or post that no-one reacts to, you can’t ignore that. It’s very clear feedback that you must take on board. Alternatively, a customer might give you an idea or a piece of feedback that causes you to completely rethink your approach. And if nothing else, inspiration might strike! A whole new idea that could completely change your strategy. Improv training will help you to be mentally flexible and quickly develop new ideas with your team.
Respond better to challenges
If you can’t improvise, you’re stuck with the same old routine and processes. But when you have the skills to respond to any challenge – and in a way that feels natural and real – you’ll be able to keep your audience engaged, even when they don’t expect it.
The tool “Yes And” is the basic building block of all improvisation. It helps players build on each other’s ideas instead of shutting them down.
What’s more, it encourages you to respond positively to unexpected twists and turns in your stories or presentations, and then add value of your own.
So, if there’s something unexpected happening at work – say an angry customer calls out one of your colleagues on social media – improv training can give you the tools needed to respond calmly and thoughtfully.
This is better than making rash decisions based solely on fear or anger (which would probably just make things worse).
Be more creative
One of the key skills in improv is creativity. Defined as the ability to come up with new and original ideas, creativity is so important for marketers who want to stand out from their competition.
The brain is a muscle, and an improv workshop is like going to the gym. If you’re regularly engaging in the mental exercises that improv training offers, then your imagination will be better honed and prepared for your day-to-day creative challenges.
Communicate more openly
Improvisation is a great way to open up and share your ideas. Creativity is often about team culture and feeling safe and free enough to experiment.
Think how much more comfortable you’d be to suggest your ideas if you knew the rest of your team would great it with “Yes, that’s brilliant, and that means we can do this…”
No idea is unworthy of exploration, as even if the process leads you away from that original seed, it can still be a starting point that grows into the tallest, prettiest tree you’ve ever seen.
It helps you understand other people better and it helps you understand your own feelings better too. Understanding of yourself and others makes it easier for you to connect with others on an emotional level.
This means that when someone says something that makes sense or moves you in some way, what they’re saying will come through clearer than ever before. You’ll be able to hear their words as well as feel them and respond accordingly!
Listen more actively
Improv is a great way to learn how to listen and build on each other’s ideas. And it’s not just good for marketing – it’s also good for life!
In improv, you’re taught that listening is one of the most important things you can do. If you stop listening, your partner – and your audience – will lose interest in what you’re saying because they don’t feel like their ideas are being heard or validated by yours.
The same thing can happen in marketing. If you’re not paying attention to what your audience engages with, you will lose them.
It’s important to understand the dialogue you’re building with your audience and the different ways that it might be communicated.
And it doesn’t only apply on stage or in the office! Improv teaches us that if we want our relationships with others to succeed – whether romantic, plutonic, or professional – we need to learn active listening skills.
It’s only by paying attention to each other that we can develop a bond/understanding and move forward together.
Assumption is the death of collaboration.
The best part about improv training is that it’s a team sport. Improv requires collaboration, trust, and communication – all of which are essential to marketing success.
Improvisers learn how to work together as a group. They have no choice but to trust each other if they want their performance (or “scene”) to be successful. They also get comfortable with being vulnerable as they understand that the possibility of failure lurks behind every choice they make, but that it can be kept at bay by the whole-hearted support of their teammates.
In marketing, any choice you make or any idea you come up with could be an absolute failure if executed incorrectly.
A good team member knows that and will give you everything they’ve got to help your vision succeed.
Improve public speaking skills
You’ve got a story. Your message is clear. Now you must be the best possible medium through which to deliver it.
For many, there’s nothing quite as terrifying as standing in front of a room full of people and having to speak. It’s even worse if you have something important to say, like a presentation or sales pitch.
Improv is the ideal corporate training to help your marketing efforts because it improves your public speaking skills. A workshop grants you the experience of speaking in front of a group of people, in a safe, supportive environment.
Admittedly, you’ll have no script, no plan, and no idea of what you’re going to say – but the incredible thing is… you’ll find you can do it. Once you get used to that, imagine how much easier it is to deliver something you’ve prepared.
If you’re worried about being able to get through a speech without stumbling over your words, improv training will make it easier for you. This may sound counter-intuitive, but you will experience failure in an improv workshop, and that will make you a better public speaker.
Something you say won’t work or you’ll hesitate for a little longer than you’d like, but what you’ll discover is… nothing happens. No-one hates you. There’s no embarrassment. There’s just an opportunity to try something else.
The actual consequences of something going wrong in either improv or public speaking are miniscule. Improv training will give you that confidence.
Become a better marketer, as well as a better person
Improvisation is all about being present in the moment and paying attention to the people around you. As a marketer, this approach can help you become more attuned to your customers’ needs by focusing on their experience.
As a result of this increased awareness, you’ll be able to communicate more effectively with your target audience. And that means better marketing results!
By focusing on the here and now and being present in the moment, and teaching us that we can rely on others for support, improv has been shown to help with anxiety, improve self-awareness and relational communication, and lead to improved team work.
Improv is the perfect corporate training to help your marketing and make you a better collaborator.
It’s not just about being funny or telling good stories; it’s about improving your communication skills and being more open to new ideas.
Improv training is an important tool for anyone who wants to be successful in business today.