The enormous value of IMPROV... to NLP'ers.

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about the value NLP'ers can gain from doing a bit of study of Improvisation (Improv / Comedy).

Whether it be in social settings (flirting, out with students at night), or in coaching, or during a training, a lot of my repeat students have commented that one of the things they keep coming back to model on an ongoing basis is a combination of my banter skills and also my ability to jump rapidly to widely variant perspectives that still have usefulness or relevance to the current situation -- sometimes therapeutic value, sometimes social value.

I've made an informal study of Improv for years, and one of the core tenets of Improv is to "accept fully the truth of what's presented to you, no matter how bizarre." And yet I find so many NLP'ers, while pacing someone else, often fall shy of this depth of pacing required either for rapport or for Improv purposes.

I'll often hear some NLPers respond to others opinions with comments like "I can understand that perspective, and I'm wondering if you've considered this other perspective?"

Now oddly, that's also similar to another good technique arising from NLP which my good friend Doug O'Brien calls the "Agreement frame," where people learn behaviorally to replace "but" with "and." I.e. "I agree with you that X, AND have you considered Y?" *But*.... the "Agreement frame" is an influence process, not a total agreement process.

For the purposes of banter, flirting, or of stepping inside someone else's reality and making it more desireable (or even undesireable, as in some therapeutic scenarios) from the inside out... you really have to step inside it, and speak & act as if you truly are inside it.

Improv... is just that -- it's the art of total acceptance (and rapid use) of every new piece of information emerging. But then to really excel at what we're doing, to take the lead, we then also have to blow our next contribution out of proportion, too... and add something else newer back into the mix that uses the previously emerging new piece of information.

I've even gone to the point of modifying & customizing some traditional Improv exercises for NLP purposes in a couple of courses I run; I think it's that valuable a skillset to include in our study.