5 exercises that will teach you how to improvise in any situation

After practice, you will be able to talk about the simplest subject as much as you like and make up captivating stories on any topic. -vas-improvizirovat-v-ljuboj-situacii-0a0b3c5.png” alt=”5 exercises that will teach you to improvise in any situation” />

Galina Grigoryan

5 exercises that will teach you how to improvise in any situation

Galina Grigoryan Trainer in public speaking and business presentations, expert in public speaking. Worked with Alfa-Bank, Sberbank, Ministry of Economy, Gil Petersil's Speaker Bureau and ImpactHub.

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The skill of improvisation will help you navigate in any situation and with any people. Especially if you're speaking in front of an audience or need to fill an awkward pause.

These are the very moments when:

  • “Vasya, say a toast, you're doing well.”
  • “And Elena will tell us about this project.”
  • “Vyacheslav, what do you think about this?”

And many other situations , for which it is difficult to prepare and when you need to quickly think of what to say. This article contains some useful exercises that will loosen your tongue.

Important: to feel the effect, implement them in your daily life, use the moment – when you are walking with a friend in the park, sitting in a cafe or waiting for something.

So, let's go!

1 . The king speaks

This exercise is great for pumping up your ability to invent and speak as much as it takes to fill a pause.

You will need a partner. One person calls any word, while the second must begin to improvise on a given topic – to say everything that comes to mind. And so on until the first one claps his hands, stopping the second on the word and thus setting a new topic for improvisation. So you can play indefinitely. My advice is to talk for 2 minutes and then switch roles.

For some, this exercise is very difficult. If a person is used to thinking in structures, classifications and schemes, then by the word “apple” he will speak something like this: “An apple is a fruit that grows, including in Russia. Apples are different: red, yellow, green. You can make charlotte, pies, compote, jam from them … There are different varieties of apples: ranetki, seasonal, gold … “Probably, after that a person will come to a standstill – and not because he is not an expert on apples, but because he constantly listed.

Starting from classifications seems like a simple solution, but it only ends up getting you confused when you finish naming known items.

To prevent this from happening, there is a little trick: you need to improvise through associations. And spin the story: “Apples. With this word, every time I remember my beloved grandmother, to whom I went to the village in the summer. She cooked an amazing charlotte … ”With this approach, you can talk indefinitely, because through associations, remember how you picked apples in a neighbor's garden, compote that you cooked with your mother, and so on.

2. A story for an hour

A professional speaker can be considered someone who can talk about the most ordinary subject for hours without ceasing.

Let's take a marker as an example. What can we tell about it?

  • Physical properties and characteristics (shape, color, material, and so on).
  • Functions (intended use – to draw, inappropriately – use as a support for tomatoes).
  • Who will benefit from this item.
  • Personal stories related to the marker.
  • History of the marker (where it is made, how it is made, who invented it).
  • Comparison with other similar objects (with a pen, pencil, felt-tip pen).
  • How does the marker affect the environment (how long does it take to decompose and what does it release).
  • How does it affect animals (for example, if a dog licks the marker, what will happen to it?).
  • Storage , expiration date, disposal.
  • Which famous people use markers and for what purposes (say, signing their books and posters).
  • Price segment and so on.
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    We could invent almost indefinitely. And if we remove the word “marker”, we will see that all these items can be attributed to absolutely any subject.

    You might object, “I don't know all these facts about the marker and can't tell you much.” But you don't need to know everything. It is enough that such a list will help not to get lost in the event of a pause or technical hitch during a speech. You will be able to remember the information that flew out of your head and continue your report or presentation.

    This exercise will help you understand that you will always find something to say on any topic, at least on one minute.

    You can modify the exercise: for example, imagine that you need not only to talk about the subject, but also to sell it. Or expand one of the items (say, “Functions”) and talk on this topic for 5 or 10 minutes – as far as knowledge is enough.

    3. The Story Master

    The next two techniques are based on storytelling and can be carried over into public speaking.

    The first technique: “suddenly”

    You will need an assistant to practice. One person proposes to another an idea for a story, such as “a little dwarf who lives in a dungeon.” The second begins to think of where this dwarf could go and what to do, and composes until the partner says the word “suddenly”. Now the first participant needs to change the course of the fairy tale and tell what could suddenly happen to the main character.

    Why does this work? The word “suddenly” forces us to come up with something new, add plot twists, and so the story becomes more interesting.

    This technique perfectly trains creativity and imagination. Having practiced in such a game, you will upgrade your storytelling skill.

    The second trick: “by the way”

    You take any text or start telling a well-known story from memory, for example, the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Your task is to add the word “by the way” from time to time: “Once upon a time there was Little Red Riding Hood. By the way, she had an incredibly beautiful dress and golden curls. Once her mother – by the way, she was a middle-aged woman with a sweet smile – told Riding Hood that she should take pies to her grandmother. By the way, these pies were unusual…”

    As you can see, each time we added the word “by the way”, we got a more detailed description of the character or item. “By the way” stops us and forces us to implement more details. This technique will teach you to “color” your story if you notice that the listeners are not immersed in it enough.

    Tip: Of course, you don't have to say “by the way” out loud every time. If you say the word to yourself, it will simply remind you to add a descriptive element: “Once upon a time there was Little Red Riding Hood. She had an incredibly beautiful dress and golden curls.

    4. Silent Film

    If you want to pump your improvisation skill to the maximum, be sure to try this exercise. All you need is a YouTube video.

    Start any video, turn off the sound and start inventing dialogues for the characters. If you choose a video of an advanced blogger, it will be more interesting, because he probably knows how to actively interact with the audience non-verbally, using facial expressions and gestures. Then you can turn on the sound and check how accurately you recognized the emotions and guessed what the person on the screen is talking about.

    Of course, this exercise also works on any fragment from a movie or cartoon. You can train anywhere: in the park, cafe, public transport. If you notice how people in the distance are discussing something animatedly, assume that they are talking to each other.

    5. Theater of one actor

    The skill of improvisation is best pumped in the theater. I suggest you try a simplified version of one of the most popular exercises for actors.

    For this, you also need a partner. One of you comes up with a role and situation for the other to act out. To develop the story, the first participant can take on the roles of other characters or throw new situations at the opponent.

    Let's give an example.

    Participant 1 sets the role and situation: “The fashion stylist is late for the train.”

    Participant 2 thinks up how this character could behave in such a situation: “Oh my God, how could I even agree to this adventure? I am the chief stylist of European fashion houses and now I have to go to some village! My manager has gone crazy…”

    Participant 1 can join the story, for example, as a strict manager of this same stylist: “So, Nicolas, calm down. You know perfectly well that you need to engage in social activities. It's good for your career.”

    Participant 2: “But why should I dress up pigs for a rural beauty pageant? How could you even sign such a contract?!”

    You can take the situation to the point of absurdity, and the most interesting thing is that you do not know where your opponent will turn the plot. Another variation of the exercise is to take turns imitating acquaintances and guessing who your partner is portraying.

    The skill of improvisation develops only with practice. Train, do not be afraid to speak in front of the public and pump over your oratory skills. Good luck!