After practice, you will be able to talk as much as you like about the simplest subject and write engaging stories on any topic.
The improvisation skill will help you navigate any situation and with any people, especially if you speak in front of an audience or need to fill in an awkward pause.
These are the moments when.
- “Vasya, say a toast. You’re good at it.”
- “And Elena will tell us about this project.”
- “Vyacheslav, what do you think about this?”
And many other situations that are difficult to prepare for and when you need to figure out what to say quickly. This article contains some helpful exercises that will loosen your tongue.
Important: to feel the effect, implement them in everyday life, take advantage of 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 says
This exercise is great for building your ability to think and speak as much as it takes to fill the gap.
You will need a partner. One person calls any word, while the second must begin to improvise on a given topic – say whatever comes to mind. And so on until the first one claps his hands, stopping the second at his word and thereby setting a new topic for improvisation. You can play this way indefinitely. My advice is to speak for 2 minutes and then switch roles.
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For some, this exercise is challenging. If a person is accustomed to thinking in structures, classifications, and schemes, then by the word “an apple,” he will speak something like this: “An apple is a fruit that grows in Russia as well. Apples are different: red, yellow, green. They can be used to make charlotte, pies, compote, jam, etc. Apples come in different varieties: ranetki, seasonal, gold, etc. After that, the person will probably come to a dead-end – and not because he is not an expert on apples but because he is constantly listed.
Starting from classifications seems like a simple solution, but the result is that you will only get confused when you finish naming known items.
To prevent this from happening, there is a little trick: you need to improvise through associations. And to promote the story: “Apples. Every time I say this, I remember my beloved grandmother, whom I went to the village in the summer. She cooked an amazing charlotte … ”With this approach, you can talk endlessly, because through associations, remember how you picked apples in a neighbor’s garden, the compote that you cooked with your mother, and so on.
2. A full hour story
A professional speaker can be considered one who can talk about the most ordinary subject for hours without stopping.
Let’s take a marker as an example. What can we tell about him?
- Physical properties and characteristics (shape, color, material, and so on).
- Functions (for the intended purpose – to draw, not for the purpose – to use as a support for tomatoes).
- Who will benefit from this item?
- Personal stories associated with the marker.
- The marker (where it is produced, how it is produced, who invented it).
- Comparison with other similar objects (with a pen, pencil, felt-tip pen).
- How the marker affects the environment (how long it takes to degrade and what it releases).
- How does it affect animals (for example, if a dog licks a marker, what will become of it?).
- Storage, shelf life, disposal.
- Which famous people use markers and for what purposes (say, sign their books and posters).
- Price segment, and so on.
We could think up almost indefinitely. And if we remove the word “marker,” we will see that all these points can be attributed to absolutely any subject.
You might argue, “I don’t know all these facts about the marker, and I cannot tell you much.” But you don’t need to know everything. It is enough that such a list will help you not get lost in the event of a pause or technical hitch during a performance. 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 can always find something to say on any topic, even for one minute.
You can modify the exercise; for example, imagine that you need to talk about an item and sell it. Or expand some of the items (say, “Functions”) and talk about this topic for 5 or 10 minutes – as far as knowledge is enough.
3. Story Wizard
The next two techniques are based on storytelling and can be carried over to public speaking.
First method: “suddenly.“
You will need an assistant to practice. One person offers another idea for the story, “the little gnome who lives in the dungeon.” The second begins to think about where this gnome could go and what to do and composes until the moment when the partner does not say the word “suddenly.” Now the first participant needs to change the tale’s course and tell what could suddenly happen to the main character.
Why does it work? The word “suddenly” forces us to come up with something new, add plot twists, and so the story becomes more interesting.
This technique is great for training creativity and imagination. With practice in such a game, you will pump your storytelling skill.
Second trick: “by the way.“
You take any text or from memory start telling everyone a well-known story, 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. One day her mother – by the way, she was a middle-aged woman with a sweet smile – told Little Hat that she should take the pies to her grandmother. By the way, these pies were unusual, etc.”;
As you may have noticed, every time we added the word “by the way,” we got a more detailed description of the character or item. By the way, it stops us and forces us to introduce more details. This technique will teach you to “paint” your story if you notice that the audience is not immersed in it enough.
Advice: Of course, you don’t have to say “by the way” out loud every time. If you say a word to yourself, it just reminds 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 movie
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 coming up with dialogues for the characters. If you choose a video of a pumped 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 whether you guessed what the person is talking about on the screen.
Of course, this exercise also works on any movie or cartoon scene. You can train anywhere: in the park, cafe, public transport. If you notice people in the distance talking animatedly about something, assume that they are talking to each other.
5. Theater of one actor
The best improvisation skill is pumped in the theater. I suggest trying a simplified version of one of the most popular exercises for actors.
You also need a partner for him. One of you comes up with a role and a situation for the other to act out. To develop the story, the first participant can take on other characters’ roles or throw new situations to the opponent to develop the story.
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Let’s give an example.
Participant 1 sets the role and situation: “Fashionable stylist is late for the train.”
Participant 2 imagines how this character might behave in such a situation: “Oh my God, how could I even agree to this adventure? I am the main stylist of European fashion houses, and now I have to go to some village! My manager has gone crazy, etc.”
Participant 1 can be included in the story, for example, in the role of a strict manager of this very 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 drive 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 parodying acquaintances and guessing who your partner is portraying.
The skill of improvisation develops only in practice. Train, do not be afraid to speak in front of the public, and pump your public speaking skills. Good luck!
Adapted and translated by The Cop Cart Staff
Sources: Life hacker