Keynote Speaker – Avish Parashar

 Ding Happens!

Planning is important, but improvising is essential! See how the art of improv comedy can improve how you handle changes in your business with our guest speaker, Motivational Improviser Avish Parashar! Through his deft improvisational techniques and stories, Avish shares the importance of open-mindedness in communication through the simple phrase, “yes, and." 

Improvisation is the ability to react to sudden change, those “ding moments," a term Avish coined with his prop bell. These changes can happen at any time in our day-to-day lives. In business, this can be staffing issues, supply chains, shifting economics, and more! The problem with changes like these is we get stuck thinking informationally instead of improvisationally. We try to have a plan and stick to it, even when unforeseen challenges arise.  

We see this example in Avish's exercise, “The Alphabet Story." In this exercise, he takes a suggestion of a place. He then creates a story on that premise, starting each sentence with a consecutive alphabet letter. Even though he has an idea of the direction to take when the story begins, the changing letters of each sentence make it difficult for him to stay on track. He must inevitably be creative and change his planned story to fit the rules. It's not until he takes the story one sentence at a time with an adaptive mindset that the exercise becomes interesting and genuinely creative. 

When faced with sudden change, we tend to default to our certainty & comfort zone, our “yes, but" moments. Defaulting our sense of control and certainty means keeping the status quo but hindering honest and open communication, creating conflict and pressure. But maintaining the status quo isn't enough to stay relevant in a constantly changing world. It becomes a vicious cycle of remaining stagnant in the face of change and then playing catch-up with the rest of the world. 

The purpose of being able to say “yes, and" is to find the heart of the issue at hand. Usually, when there is a conflict between two people, there is something deeper causing the struggle than the matter at hand. Instead of saying “but," “and" opens us up to collaborate and dig into the motives behind our thoughts. It all starts with two simple words.

Learning to confidently say “yes, and" in times of change is not an overnight process. Like in Avish's “The Alphabet Story" exercise, it begins with saying “yes, and" to the situation in front of you. Taking a massive step into this mindset can be overwhelming. Avish's guide for taking it one step at a time is “act, analyze, and adjust." Take action, see what happens, make an adjustment, and repeat!