“A Massage Convention’s an HR hotbed.” –> “If OSHA says this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.”
With Hey Everybody mechanics in our back pocket we can confidently jump into chaos knowing that all we need to do is each stick and heighten our individual perspectives while collectively sticking to the order of individual contributions. With these tools we harness the power of the chaos, enabling it to swell and pop.
We can relax, too, in the knowledge that every player doesn’t need to nail it; they just need to participate. Especially in that first pass, what’s most important is just for each player to say/do something, anything. And if “anything” is too broad and therefore crippling then we remember that we can always align and agree with one another as well.
Watch this example. Note how the first pass gets established – who agrees with whom, who has a different perspective, who doesn’t speak. How many different perspectives would you say are in play among these 7 improvisers?
- Emotion rules. Michael doesn’t just initiate the game, he initiates with emotion. If nothing else, heightening emotion throughout the game will help secure your edit.
- As the second player to speak, Sarah chooses to be upset about the prospect of being massaged. She ends up being the only player that’s anti-massage and that difference ends up being critical to the emotional core of the game. Noticing the difference can help you leverage the difference – Remember: Empower Asymmetries.
- Leverage Rules of Cause & Effect. As the third player to speak, Patrick says he has a lot of kinks to work out. Ryan, starting to massage Patrick, agrees; “He really does.” That agreement rule plays out again in the second pass: “I’ve got a lot of knots to work out” & “He really does. He really does.” But in the third pass, Patrick falls off his pattern (“Oh, yeah, massage that leprosy out of me”) which forces Kevin off of his. Patrick could have said “I’ve got a lot of leprosy to work out” which would have set Kevin up for success just by following the established rule; “Oh my God, he really does!”
- A Hey Everybody sequence doesn’t have to be each player speaking once in order, but be aware of the pitfalls of breaking that rhythm. If you don’t speak in the first pass, expectations will raise for when you do speak. Shannon left herself out of the first pass but it was worth it to wait for her “HR hotbed” line. If inspired to react emotionally to another player’s contribution means that you contribute more than once in a single pass, that’s okay, but no one player should bogart the air. Hey Everybody initiator/facilitators often feel pressure to speak more – too often responding between each other contribution – but the facilitator doesn’t have any more right to speak than anyone else. And a dictator facilitator is tiresome. Michael’s play here as facilitator was terrific. He empowers Sarah’s asymmetry with his first abashed “Pardon me” in response to her not wanting to be touched. Then he keeps that interjection as part of the pattern and he heightens with emotion with subsequent passes and ultimately earns the game’s edit with it.
More Hey Everybody examples: