4 Types of Workshop Wallflowers

(And how we uproot them)

One of my favorite parts of taking in a new group for a corporate workshop is sizing up the Wall Flowers. There is always at least one in every group, sometimes more. Below are the different type of Workshop Wallflowers, and approximately how long it takes the flip them from being on the outside looking in to becoming engaged.

1. Bashful
This is our favorite wallflower – someone who is mortified of public performance. Quiet, nervous, maybe even trembling in fear while participating in any teambuilding.

Our workshops are specifically designed to make everyone WANT to participate. Once someone with stage fright sees everyone else doing something silly it feels unnatural, even for them, to let their coworkers handle all the heavy lifting.

2. Skeptical
We would say most wallflowers fall under this category. And we’ll admit, maybe its even fair for them to be skeptical. If they’ve only ever seen the hokey trash that has passed for years as “teambuilding” they’d be right to be skeptical.

For them, at best, this is just another day not at a desk. Skeptics are also the quickest wallflowers to turn around. We’re sure they can’t even pinpoint the exact spot they “plug in-” but once we switch them they are 100% on board.

3. Too-Cool-For-This
At some point, someone convinced this group that “ironic disattachment” was the most hilarious and impressive thing people could do. This specific type of wallflower is pleased to have a new venue to show how cool they can be. These lumps participate, but are actively trying to derail the exercises.

Our favorite part is watching as they realize a) improv is actually fun, and b) our facilitators and exercises are funnier than them. After the workshop, this is the one type of person in any group who is most likely to ask for information on taking a class. Without fail.

4. Worry Wort
This wallflower is unable to put down their phone and connect with the rest of their team. Surely, the most important call of the day will come during this workshop! These folks can be tougher to manage.

We get it, at certain times customers or big sales could be important – but no workshop is long enough to delay your response to anything more than a reasonable time. Our facilitators aren’t going to stop anyone from using their phone or taking a call, but once worry worts know when we’ll have breaks and when we’ll wrap up for the day they can usually set aside their fears and jump right in!

If your company has a few flowers on the wall and you want to open them up, contact PHIT Comedy today for a corporate workshop designed to get your workplace moving.

Executive Leadership Training for Tessellate

The executive team of Tessellate stopped by today to help cap off a corporate retreat with a fun  and powerful improv workshop focusing on executive leadership training. We often work with groups who contact us to be part of a larger area event they are holding for their teams  Improv is a fun way to cap off a planning session, company retreat, or other organizational pow-wow.

Tessellate is a major provider of risk adjustment services to health care companies based in Michigan. They traveled to Philadelphia for their retreat. They wanted to focus most of all on ways to increase trust and transparency within their team.

How PHIT Developed Our EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TRAINING

Working with an employee at Tessellate responsible for planning the retreat, PHIT’s facilitators created a customized set of improv exercises. Then we refined the plan for the afternoon based on their feedback. As a result, we were able to deliver a highly focused and relevant learning experience for everyone who attended.

One aspect of our workshops that speak to corporate leadership is building on the principles of transparency and trust. Improvisation calls on us to be clear, effective, and emotionally honest. As a result, we train our workshop participants to consider their role on the team and how their ability to communicate with those around them effects their ability to rely on them.

PHIT Corporate leads an executive leadership training for Tessellate on one of our stages.

Just getting warmed up.

In order to take the necessary risks to grow as a team, there must be a foundation of trust. How else can ideas generate and grow? Therefore, our workshop today affirmed the role trust plays in our daily work lives.

 

PLAN A TRAINING FOR YOUR TEAM

Sound like something your team could benefit from? Contact us today for more information on our executive leadership training for groups like Tessellate’s and let us help your company use improv to advance your goals at the top. We would love to work with you!

Play at Work

If everyone had to write down a list of words that described their job, I don’t think “fun” would be at the top of many lists. Work is tough. Work is work. A job is full of challenges and responsibilities and most people compartmentalize fun to the hours after five o’clock.

Here’s the trick: your job SHOULD BE fun. But at some point, when you applied, or accepted an offer, something about this job must have been worthwhile for you to commit your time for it.

You may have lost sight of the “fun” behind the crushing weight of tasks, deadlines, cranky co-workers or clients.

I would never suggest you trivialize your job, or force yourself to treat issues that matter like they don’t. A flippant attitude isn’t the answer. But you can open yourself up to “playing” at work.

When we talk about improvisors performing, we refer to it as “playing.” On stage, you must open yourself up to the endless possibilities of what can happen from scene-to-scene or show-to-show. There is a sense of discovery and exploration.

That opportunity for you to flex creative muscles exists off stage too. By changing the way you approach work issues you can help make yourself love what you do.

“When we bring a sense of play into our work environment it opens up new pathways to solutions and allows for innovation,” according to Kristen Schier, university professor and one of PHIT Comedy’s corporate workshop facilitators. “Play exchanges convention and rigidity for novelty and flexibility. Play fosters creativity and adaptation all while inviting new possibilities… and let us not forget joy!

Our workshops can help people retrain how they think about work. We encourage you to look at your job not as an obligation you have to fulfill, but as a role for you to star in.

Here are a few ways you might be preventing yourself from having fun at work:

  1. You’re stuck in a creative rut: if you’ve become a slave to an implied system of doing your job, you’re missing out on new opportunities to approach work.
  2. You’re assuming “no”s – Sometimes our inclination to shoot down our own ideas prevents us from exploring opportunities we never realize.
  3. You’re focusing on the wrong things – If the amount you dread doing something is proportional to how long you put off doing it, you’re sustaining the worry. Spend your time focusing on the more engaging parts of your job.

To help you or your team rediscover fun at work, contact PHIT Comedy about our corporate workshops using applied improvisation today.

Teambuilding & Improving Sales for JLL

JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) is one of the largest financial and commercial real estate services companies in the world – with over almost 80,000 employees across 300 offices in 80 countries – so when the opportunity to participate in their regional company wide meeting in Mount Pocono this week we were excited for the opportunity.

We were also impressed with their desire to embrace and out-of-the-box activity. Large corporations are often held back by conservative thinking and a desire to do things the way they have always been done, but smart multi-nationals are always trying new things… like having their regional staff spend 90 minutes at the start of a retreat improvising with our team of performer/facilitators.

JLL tasked us with two important missions for our session, which started at 9:00 a.m. (not your typical time for improv comedy, or even applied improvisation, but one we always make work when our clients request it): first, we had to get everyone energized for a fun, productive retreat where they were going to be thinking creatively; and second, we had to work to improve team dynamics by getting the attendees to think about their relationships with co-workers over their individual goals.

Getting a large team from across multiple states to bond is tricky (in this case the participants came from up and down the eastern seaboard). Working with people who have varying lengths of association with an organization is another challenge (we had people with decades of experience, and we also had someone who had started last week). Fortunately, improv is an activity which allows space for failure and teaches valuable lessons as a result of failing. It’s also an activity in which people can rapidly improve, even over the course of a single session.

Just before everything started we overheard one of the participants saying to another that “high powered brokers don’t have time for this…” but by the end of our session the same pair of men wanted to continue the conversation with one of our facilitators during a break in their day as we were packing up to leave – talking about connections they saw between the exercises we had done and the work they engaged in on a daily basis. This is always a sign we have broken through with individuals, and it’s also part of the design of our sessions. We try to leave participants with an experience they will continue to think about and learn from in the days after their actual face time with us.

If you’d like to chat about how we can kick off your next retreat, or how bringing applied improvisation to your workforce can provide valuable and fun experiential learning that continues to resonate after a workshop is over, contact us and let’s start a conversation.

 

We Trained *Everyone* at Philly’s Fastest Growing Start-up, Curalate!

The entire Curalate team got together in Philadelphia last week for the start of the year, and after our workshop with a smaller division in 2016 they decided to have us train the whole company. Curalate is the fastest growing start-up in Philadelphia and is coming off a year of explosive growth (as a simple example, the number of participants in the workshop grew by 20% between the time we booked it and when it happened… a little less than month).

With so many new people and offices now in three states working as a team and communicating well has taken on added significance to Curalate. With a young, engaged workforce they know that presenting learning in new and interesting ways keeps their employees happy and is effective. Working with PHIT Corporate on a larger scale for this training was a natural fit and we were happy to return to a company we already knew and build on our past work

Coming at the end of a week of various meetings and talks, we brought all of Curalate’s close to 200 employees to our location and spread them across every available stage, rehearsal hall and classroom we had with a team of 9 facilitators for a session that put the emphasis on fun but also had a curriculum designed to teach important skills like working as a team, communicating, and collaboration.

It was especially nice to come into the office today and have heard that on the surveys every employee completed before they went home at the end of the week our activity got the highest marks of anything that happened in the 5 day retreat:

A screenshot showing all 56 responses would be boring to read, so just picture the number of exclamation points continuing to increase as you go down.

Do you have a large event that needs that extra something, but you don’t want the time to only being about getting your employees out of the office? If you contact us we can work together to create a special morning, afternoon, or evening for your entire company that will be a blast and have folks learning important skills or values through applied improvisation so that everyone wins.