The Most Interesting Person in the World

Ask the Improv Lady

Posted on: October 13, 2010

Dear Improv Lady,

You say that you can use improv to solve any problem in the world. Well, I have a question for you. How do you break the ice? For example, with someone you know and talk to regularly but never become close to?



Dear Spinderella,

It’s true that there is no problem that can’t be solved with improv–at least, no problem worth solving can’t be solved with improv.

If you are talking with someone that you’ve just met, or you see regularly but haven’t yet probed the insides of his/her mind, it might be good to strike up a game of questions. One such game is “If…?” You take turns thinking up questions such as, “If you could be the leader of a country for a day, which country would you choose?” or “If you could invent a new animal, what would it look like and what noise would it make?” Another good game is “Would you rather…?” For example, “Would you rather have the job of your dreams and be lonely, or the perfect marriage and be poor?” or “Would you rather have a shaved head that never grows back, or walk around backwards for the rest of your life?”

Also, if you’re finding it hard to get to know people, be aware of how much you listen versus how much you talk in a conversation, and switch it. For example, if you tend to be more shy and wait for the other person to speak (as I suspect you are), try starting a conversation by giving information about yourself–that will bring out the other person’s desire to share information about themself. Or, if you tend to hog the conversation (as I do), next time try holding back a bit and focus on listening to what the other person is saying. It helps to start with something you both have in common, such as if you both love the computer-animated Canadian TV show ReBoot. That creates a common bond already, plus it helps to talk about something that you enjoy talking about (such as ReBoot.)

The Improv Lady


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