Monthly Archives: July 2009

Unleash Your Creativity Through Improv

Finding unconventional answers to problems requires creative thinking.  Using the main principle behind successful Improv can boost your creativity in order to solve problems and uncover hidden opportunities.

Creativity experts encourage conducting brainstorming sessions that are free from judgment.  The idea is if your take away negativity around any type of input then you can allow ideas to evolve or inspire other ideas that satisfy your needs.  This premise is great, but I’d recommend taking this technique a step further and marry Improv theory’s main principle, unconditional support, into your brainstorming sessions.

Improv requires the unconditional support of improvisationers to enable a scene to gain momentum.  When brainstorming, the same type of supportive foundation could help foster new ideas.  By training you and your team to be unconditionally supportive during a brainstorming session you immerse yourself into a collaborative environment of free flowing ideas that are unregulated by fear of rejection.

The next time you need to get creative with your team, embrace the Improv theory of unconditional support and have members of the group fire out ideas that build and branch off from one another.  While some initial ideas may be blah, subsequent ideas may be the genesis of something big!

How do you get your creative juices flowing?  Have you used Improv to hep your business think up unconventional ideas?

Network to Give in Order to Get

Effectively networking has many benefits.  Ostensibly meeting new people, learning something new, marketing your company and potentially earning more business from referrals are excellent reasons to attend a networking event.  It’d be great if all you had to do was show up and everyone would be interested in you and your business, but the reality is most in attendance will be thinking about their own interests.

The Used Car Salesman
Image by TexasEagle via Flickr

When you attend an event, differentiate your own brand from what I’ll call the used car salesman crowd that primarily networks to “get.”  You know the type, the ones who only seem interested in selling you on something that is hardly related to anything you need or the topic at hand.  Don’t be like that.  Instead, learn as much as you can about the people you meet and the pains that they are trying to solve.  If you can alleviate their pain in someway, whether it’s related to your business or otherwise, make an effort to help them and distinguish yourself from the crowd.

By providing value and thinking in terms of the wants and needs of others, or in other words networking to give, you’ll be building a following of people who will want to help you out.  Building relationships requires effort, and some of your efforts may not pan out.  But if you put forth the effort, you’ll find that networking may be an extremely effective way to grow your business.

You may not be rewarded immediately, but the relationships you invest in now should pay off in a big way through future business, introductions, word-of-mouth, or knowledge you gain to solve pains in your own business.  At the very least you’ll learn something from the experience and if you are truly able to help, your efforts will be intrinsically rewarded.

So what are you going to do?  Network to get or network to give?  The next time you attend an event, network to give and see how much more fruitful and rewarding the experience can be.

Have a networking experience you’d like to share?  Leave your comment below.