I’ve developed an Active Listening & Collaboration workshop that has proven engaging.
I’ve run this session for a ton of high school students and for multiple cohorts of college programs’ Entrepreneurs and Healthcare Execs in Training. I’ve run almost fifty sessions with accountants and insurance professionals. I’ve even run it in a communal house and with a fresh crop of McKinsey consultants – two very different experiences.
It was awesome! (Oh, and donate to Legal Aid – they MATTER!)
What follows is my preamble to that session which I offer here as a little didactic on why we should care about Active Listening & Collaboration, and learning those skills and more through improvisation can make us, well, better people.
To be most effective our patterns must heighten, either in a concentrated progression or through pure repetition. In building a progression, we focus on the relationship of Offer, Set and Cement moves to define how we heighten as a group. The Offer is anything, an initiation. From the Offer’s single point in space on a blank stage, the Set move seeks to define a relationship of heightening. The Cement move seeks to clarify the relationship between the Set and Offer moves through its own relationship with the Set move. If a then B then C. A heightened sequence will pop and evoke an edit (with C) and/or clarify a continued direction (…then D then E…). But what if a then B then z? All is never lost. The only mistake we make in forging a collaborative pattern is not incorporating every contribution. Through repetition we make every move purposeful. Through repetition, if a then B then z then c then D then y.
Attention to the relationship between Offer, Set and Cement moves enables a clear, heightening pattern. While through repetition any sequence can be made into a pattern, the earlier we cement a pattern the easier it will be to heighten and evolve. Without attention to pattern progression, sequences of moves risk becoming a string of randomness that ultimately exhausts and disengages the audience, or a categorically-related but flat run of moves (i.e. apple then strawberry then grape then watermelon then pear…) that ultimately bores and disengages the audience.