How Learning Improv Can Help You Think Outside The Brain

All quotes below are from Annie Murphy Paul, author of the excellent book, The Extended Mind.

On Thinking with Gesture

Speakers can influence an audience with gestures and body language just as much as they do with their speech. The right movements can “carry out cognitive and communicative functions that language can’t touch”

“It’s clear that spontaneous gestures can support intelligent thinking.”

This is where I come in — improv classes create environments where the participants can be encouraged to use gestures on the spot. Since the art form is, according to the author, “cognitively taxing” you are more likely to use gestures to communicate your message.

Want to make your message clearer, more entertaining, and more intelligent? Consider adding more spontaneous gestures. Consider learning improv.

On Thinking with Groups

I often get hired by a company to run improv comedy “team building” events. When a business wants their team to be better listeners, better “back havers”, and better communicators, they bring me in to run improv exercises.

“The new science of the group mind is demonstrating that we think differently — and often better — when we think as part of a close-knit group rather than as individuals.”

It happens every time. A group of people, sometimes complete strangers, start to bond over the shared experience of learning improv. When the group mind starts clicking, the work gets easier.

When the work gets easier, you take more creative risks — knowing that the others in the group have your back.

This creates deeper and more meaningful results.

Want to experience the benefits of group mind? Take an improv class.

If this post inspired you in any way I highly recommend reading The Extended Mind. Special thanks and congratulations to Annie Murphy Paul on this masterpiece.

If this post inspired you to take action and learn improv, then I want you to email me right now with the word “Improv Breakthrough” in the subject line. There’s a reason why you found this post and I’d love to learn more about what you’re hoping to get out of improv. I’m GO [at] hellyescreative [dotcom]

Finally, I recently did a similar post on the book “Humor, Seriously.” Check it out here.

Chris Trew
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Chris Trew

Chris Trew


Hi, I’m Chris Trew. I run Hell Yes Creative and am forever on tour. I wrote How to Start a Comedy Scene from Scratch, Improv Wins, and Behind The Bench. #NOLA