Saturday, November 12, 2011

Leave Room for Improv

Watch this hilarious Ted talk from this week - Charlie Shodd: The Shared Experience of Absurdity:

The absurd scenes created here were funny only because of the people involved who had no idea what was going on.

Speakers tend to practice as a way to avoid the unexpected. But while preparation is absolutely essential, it is sometimes those unexpected moments in a presentation that make the most impact.

From the Green Room: Know your core message. But don't memorize your speech. Leave room for a little improv!


Anonymous said...

He's an accomplished presenter and yet... Call me crazy, but there's a darkish underside to this improv that leaves me cold. Less so perhaps on the store window performance which seemed a good spirited variations on a typical flash mob. The Best Buy episode, on the hand, had a meaner edge which was made clear by Charlie's gleeful boast: "I like the concept of using their own technology against them." And of course Charlie's audience laughs uproariously -- feeling so superior to the hapless Best Buy manager & security staff who were so uncool as to actually try to do their jobs. Anyway, this sort of "improv" has been around for years ( ), Charlie's own contribution is an extra ration of smugness.

Sarah Gershman said...

Yes it's been around for years - I myself participated in this kind of improv some 20 years ago in college! I agree that there is a dark side to it, though I think it's fairly harmless. Pranks always have at least a little bit of a dark side. Even for the store manager who called 911 - (I found that very funny) I imagine the fun he's had retelling the tale made the experience worth while.