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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

How to Yes-And In Life: Using Improvisational Games to Improv(e) Your Communication, Listening, Critical Thinking, and Collaboration Skills

Stefanie Benjamin, Assistant ProfessorEducation, Health, and Human Sciences - Retail, Hospitality & Tourism Management

At times, academics express difficulty communicating their research and ideas to the general public. Improvisational theater activities can foster a space where academics become more aware of their own speech, body, and behaviors in order to observe, listen, and respond to their environment.  Participating in such games encourages academics to communicate directly both inside and outside the classroom. Additionally, learning to be more extemporaneous transforms academics to teach and present in a confident manner where they don't feel the need to follow a script, which in turn, results in an audience-focused presentation. Improv allows academics to “yes-and” a scene, transforming how they observe their environment and communicate while engaging audiences (i.e. students, conference attendees, faculty) in a way that is approachable, creative, and playful!  Most importantly, improvisation offers a framework where academics can let go of “self-judgment” and learn to trust their best, most creative, most confident, authentic self. ​

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