Improvising Through Crisis: Employing Comedy to Make Messages Stick
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Episode 176 Transcript:
Chris Curran: Growth Igniters Radio, episode 176: Improvising Through Crisis: Employing Comedy to Make Messages Stick. This episode is brought to you by Business Advancement Inc. — enabling successful leaders and companies to accelerate to their next level of growth. On the web at businessadvance.com.
And now here’s Pam and Scott.
Pam Harper: Thanks, Chris. I’m Pam Harper, Founding Partner and CEO of Business Advancement Inc. Sitting right across from me, as always, is my business partner and husband, Scott Harper. Hi Scott.
Scott Harper: Hi Pam. It’s always great to join you again, and as always, our purpose is to spark new insights, inspiration, and immediately useful ideas for visionary leaders to accelerate themselves — and their companies — to their next level of game-changing innovation, transformation and growth.
Pam, here we are living in a post-pandemic world with a volatile economy, a stormy political environment and worldwide outrage about racism and racial injustice. You know, we’re facing what amounts to a buffet of upheaval.
Pam Harper: It’s a tough combination.
Scott Harper: Yes, it is, and there’s just no playbook for leading ourselves or our organizations through the combination of these exact circumstances. We just need to improvise to find the best path forward.
Pam Harper: One of the things we do know, however, is that with so much noise and so many distractions in the environment it’s also more important than ever for leaders to communicate in a way that helps customers, employees, and other stakeholders focus on what are the most important issues and then to make the messages about them stick.
Scott Harper: That’s important, and it’s an art as well as a science.
Pam Harper: That’s why today we’re speaking with Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation at Second City Works, the business arm of the Second City Improvisation Theater.
Pam Harper: Kelly began his Second City career in 1988, eventually becoming Producer of Second City in 1992 and Executive Vice President through 2015. For those that are not familiar with Second City, he has produced hundreds of original reviews with talents such as Steven Colbert, Tina Fey, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler.
Pam Harper: We had him on Growth Igniters Radio… Oh, it was back in 2015, after his book Yes, And was published and it’s gone on to receive rave reviews. You can read much more about Kelly Leonard by going to growthignitersradio.com, episode176, and scrolling down to resources.
Pam Harper: So, Kelly, welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio. It’s been a lot of years.
Kelly Leonard: Yeah. Thanks for having me.
Pam Harper: See, we never forget.
Pam Harper: So this is a very — challenging is probably a weak word to use, but it’s the best I can come up with — time, and it just seems so fitting to have you come back. You lead a business; you are a leader in your own right, and we thought that it would be helpful for our listeners to hear how this has all impacted you and Second City Works, so let’s start out with that.
Kelly Leonard: Yeah. There was that day in March… Was it the 12th? 13th? I forget the exact date, but it was a Friday, and by Saturday we had figured out that we were no longer going to be able to have people come to our business, and we a live business. We are a live theater. We do live touring engagements. We do live in-person classes at our training center, and then the corporate division, Second City Works, goes and does these, you know, live deliveries of corporate workshops, and we were having a great year.
Kelly Leonard: So, because we are a company based on improvisation, we immediately pivoted, and I was very lucky. I had actually started conversations with Zoom about four weeks earlier. I just had this wild idea one day that maybe this is technology that we might want to use, so we had access sort of to sort of the top people in that company, and we just got online and started playing.
Kelly Leonard: We looked at the technology and we were like, “okay, how can we deliver shows? How can we deliver workshops and corporate stuff, and for our student population?” So, it took about, I don’t know, four weeks or so, but we basically became a tech startup over the course of a month, and we moved the entire business online.
Kelly Leonard: We retained about 70% of the students in the training center. We can’t replace that theater revenue, so that’s a huge hit, but we are doing three shows a week online that are averaging audiences around 3,000 from all over the world, so our capacity of our theater is bigger. We’re just not charging yet.
Kelly Leonard: Then the corporate group, we figured out, you know, it’s different… The classes that the students come at the training center are very low fi, so they could use Google Hangout and just kind of do it. But our clients are looking for a different kind of experience and they’re paying more, so we basically utilized all the bells and whistles that we had at our disposal.
Kelly Leonard: The first of those is that almost all our facilitators are also performers, so we’re like look, you’re putting on a TV show. We are talking into a screen, so you’re going to act as well as facilitate, and that was I think a good note.
Kelly Leonard: Then we realized we had all this digital content, like instead of making this like a two hour Zoom call where we’re talking at you, let’s bring in some funny stuff from the stages or these other digital shorts that speak to leadership issues and agility issues and problem solving issues, whatever we’re teaching at the moment.
Kelly Leonard: Then we use the chat feature and we do polls. Also the most hilarious thing is we were like let’s get a musical director. There should be a play list, a pandemic play list, when people are coming in and then we score throughout.
Kelly Leonard: This has been a revelation to our corporate clients. We did a workshop very early on for a soft drink conglomerate and they were like we are adding a musical director now to all our meetings. It fills up the space. It creates energy.
Kelly Leonard: We’ll often sign off our workshops with a short dance party with everyone, and that level of committing to more activity within the screen we’re in is one of the things that I think people have to realize is really important, that you just can’t rely on the talking apps in the box. There are other things you can do to communicate effectively at a time when… It’s not only hard to communicate in this sort of virtual platform, but with all the… As you mentioned, the noise, the cognitive dissonance, the heartbreak that is going on.
Kelly Leonard: You do not make good choices when you have all of that stuff being sort of thrown at you, so it’s really important that we sort over-connect with our communities, so they can feel like they’re seen and heard and taken care of and can ask the questions that they need to ask to take care of themselves in this time.
Scott Harper: Wow. Amazing flexibility, Kelly, but my guess is it hasn’t been all peaches and cream. What’s been the biggest leadership challenge that you’ve faced as you’ve gone through this and that you’re going to face as we start to slowly reopen?
Kelly Leonard: When the events in Minnesota happened and… So suddenly… I think we had figured out a baseline for the COVID response and were working on the sort of phased opening and talking about that, but then when this tragedy happens that becomes just an overwhelming part of the national conversation, we weren’t expecting that to be piled on top.
Kelly Leonard: So now we find ourselves… You know, we took this week and we didn’t do the live shows, but we are handing over our virtual stage to a bunch of our black and brown talent to basically speak and do the work that they want to do. That felt like the right choice.
Kelly Leonard: We hit pause on a couple of things, but then we also realized you can’t stay silent, so we also added our voice to the mix. That’s an easy choice for Second City, because I think most people know what our political bend is, so they’re expecting us to be who we are and who we have been.
Kelly Leonard: I recognize that that’s not the same choice for a lot of other companies, but the leadership literature that I’ve read says that if you know your authentic voice is a brand use that voice, because your audience is going to stick with you, but only if you’re staying authentic to that voice.
Pam Harper: Now all of this was going on at the same time as… I mean you have a facility as well, and with starting to reopen you’ve got social distancing considerations and all those other things.
Scott Harper: A lot of stress.
Pam Harper: How have you been improvising through that?
Kelly Leonard: I mean that’s the hardest part of this equation because we’re realists. We don’t think people are going to be coming to theaters any time soon. Even if there’s this phased opening, our kind of venue will be last because it is a tightly packed nightclub.
Kelly Leonard: One of the most frustrating things about some of the conversations I’ve heard, certainly when we were just in the COVID conversation, was this push to get these businesses reopened when we know that they can’t make money at 25% capacity. They can’t make money at 50% capacity. What are you talking about? So what we’re thinking is when we’re allowed back in our space and we know our capacity of 300 maybe now will be 50, and that’s not feasible with just the ticket price alone, but you know what we’ve done? We’ve built a digital audience.
Kelly Leonard: So maybe what we can do is carry them back with us, and maybe what the shows are mixed media, so there’s live elements there that also being broadcast all over the world that people can buy a ticket to. So that’s the kind of thing we’re experimenting with now. We’re talking to various technology partners and other organizations that are interested in this model.
Kelly Leonard: The reality is… And this is true in improvisation and it is true in science, which is the way you get to figure this stuff out is through experiments, and you have to experiment over and over and over again, so that is what we’re doing. We’re trying out different formats every single week in the virtual shows. We’re seeing what works. We’re seeing how it might cross over one we can incorporate live in the room as well.
Kelly Leonard: So I am both excited about what this new version of Second City can be because suddenly we’re not limited by place and space, and the kind of equity that that can bring. You know, people just could never afford, or they live in remote places, but if they’ve got this wifi connection they can be part of our community.
Kelly Leonard: Think about how that could extend beyond the stage. Maybe there are these memberships that you can come up and you’re taking classes and you’re going to shows and then you’re attending seminars. So it might be that we are through the sort of terrible sheltering, figuring out the way to actually reach the rest of the world in real time. That’s exciting.
Pam Harper: It is exciting and it’s very congruent with the kinds of things that we advise clients as well, which is any time there’s something that is bad there is always an opportunity that’s somehow embedded in it, and you are exemplifying that for sure.
Scott Harper: We just have to be creative and improvise.
Pam Harper: That’s right. You know, when we were talking about this episode you were talking about employing comedy to make critical messages stick. Before we go to break, what would you say was the biggest message that you needed to have stick, and how did you use comedy?
Kelly Leonard: I mean for us the message is that it’s okay, we’re going to be okay, we’re all going to be okay. That was one that I think just by merely getting these shows up and the idea… We have hosts now for the shows, which we don’t at Second City, and the hosts really set the tone of we’re here, we’re together, we see you, we’re all going to play. It’s not going to be perfect. Someone’s internet is going to not work, but we’re still going to get through this thing.
Kelly Leonard: Audiences are very forgiving. It turns out when you’re truthful with them and when they all understand that we’re sharing this time, and this time is difficult for all of us. So that was probably the first thing that really drove home, and that’s when we did our very first virtual show.
Pam Harper: That’s a good place for us to leave it for the moment. We’re going to take a quick break and then when we come back we’ll dig deeper with Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation at Second City Works, about how using improvisation and comedy works to make messages stick during a crisis. Stay with us…
Scott Harper: This is Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement, Inc. As always, we focus on enabling C-suite leaders to accelerate momentum for game-changing innovation, transformation, and growth, and we’re at businessadvance.com.
Scott Harper: You know, Pam, neuroscientists tell us that when we’re in a crisis like we face today it’s natural for our brains to go back to tried and true ways of dealing with similar situations, but this could present a real challenge to visionary leaders, especially in turbulent times like these.
Pam Harper: That’s true. While relying on familiar solutions can work in a stable environment, it doesn’t work when the rules no longer apply and we’re in the unchartered territory of today and tomorrow.
Pam Harper: That’s where we come in as strategic growth advisors. Our clients have told us that we’ve helped them gain clarity, frame their challenges so they can make new, more powerful decisions, and most importantly take new actions that have led to game changing results. You can learn more by reading our success stories and testimonials on businessadvance.com.
Scott Harper: And to arrange for a brief call contact us at businessadvance.com.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper, that’s me, and Scott Harper. Scott and I are talking today with Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation at Second City Works about using improvisation and comedy to help ourselves and others during a crisis.
Pam Harper: Kelly, how can people find out more about you and your work?
Kelly Leonard: Secondcity.com is where you can go to get all the information on the stuff we’re doing, and I am @klsecondcity on Twitter, and I’m on LinkedIn as well.
Pam Harper: Okay. And you can certainly see more about Kelly’s bio, you can learn more about Second City Works, Second City, by visiting growthignitersradio.com, episode 176.
Pam Harper: Before the break, we were talking about how comedy somehow enters into helping to make messages stick during a crisis. Comedy seems like a rather contrarian thing to be thinking about in the middle of a crisis, but there’s research about this. Why is it a powerful leadership approach?
Kelly Leonard: Well, so the thing about comedy is it is often about finding a shared truth and it is often a binding element, right? The power of all of us laughing at once together, there’s no… I mean it’s a wonderful experience, and when we’re doing that it’s because we’ve all collective made the same discovery at the same time.
Kelly Leonard: I happen to be married to a comedy professor who runs the first ever BA in comedy writing and performance at Columbia College and she’s actually working on a new book in which she talks about the elements of comedy being recognition or truth, pain and distance.
Kelly Leonard: So, at any given time when you understand that those are sort of the elements that you’re playing with, you know, when we’re sort of… During this phase with COVID, right, where we’re about to get out of it, that was a really good time for us to sort of use comedy as a way to explain like wash your hands, put on your face mask, you know, all this stuff we need to be doing. The minute the rioting and looting and the protesting came on we had to step back, because there’s too much pain and not enough distance.
Kelly Leonard: So, professionals in the comedy world have to be very smart about when they can employ their rhetoric. We’ve all seen the person make that just terrible tweet at the wrong time that’s going to cost them their job, and then we’ve also seen… I will never forget after 9/11 when The Onion came out and they found some of the first ways that we could laugh about the situation.
Kelly Leonard: But it really is something that like if you’re an amateur just don’t mess with it right now. Wait till it’s normal times, because what we’re doing… We got asked by the City of Chicago… They’re doing a big virtual graduation for all the graduating seniors of high school and they’re like could you do something for us?
Kelly Leonard: So, we actually created a song that we went and sent cameras to everyone’s house. They did it all sort of individually, but it’s about we know that this sucks. We know that this is bad for you, but let’s look at the good things, like you don’t have to stand next to someone with terrible BO in the hot sun all day. These are the lyrics of the song. So, we just find all these sorts of like silver linings for these people, and we end up saying, you know, this is important because you’re the ones that are going to save us.
Scott Harper: Really good insights Kelly. How can a leader who wants to think about using humor and using comedy… How can you tailor the right comedic tone to make it appropriate for a particular situation, a particular place, you have less chance of falling flat?
Kelly Leonard: I think Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot has really shown adeptness for this. During the COVID crisis these memes would all show up, and then she realized she could start doing TikTok versions of like “Lori is always watching, so like get back in your house.” It was really… And she just had… Because she does not come off as a funny person, you know. She’s tiny. She’s got sort of a serious face, so it was even funnier that she was making fun of herself.
Kelly Leonard: Then when the news changed and this other story emerged she stopped doing that because it’s not appropriate, so a very solid sense of the context in the moment, but also playing to your strength. Our governor I think has done quite a good job as well, J.B. Pritzker, but he’s like a billionaire white guy. It’s not the same.
Kelly Leonard: Lori is a short, gay African American woman. I mean she can punch up in a way that others can’t. So, knowing who you are is a huge part of knowing whether you can effectively use comedy.
Kelly Leonard: And I’ll also say this, speaking of Twitter, it’s been very interesting to see the brands, and I think of Steak-umms, like who would ever want to buy Steak-umms, but they have been so funny and truth-telling on Twitter that you see all these people holding up their frozen packages of meat simply because they think this Twitter account is funny.
Pam Harper: Well, you know, you’re making a really good point, which is you have to be aware of who you are and-
Scott Harper: Where you are.
Pam Harper: … where you are. The other thing that came to mind is there are so many different types of humor, there’s so many different types of comedy. We see it on late night, the difference between Jimmy Fallon and Steven Colbert and how they’re using comedy and not, and that’s just a very small sample. But how can you select the right type of comedy to fit a particular culture?
Kelly Leonard: Yeah. First, it’s interesting, when my wife teaches about standup comics she says they’re not doing perspective taking, they’re doing perspective giving. So they have to tell the audience basically who they are in the first five minutes so that they’ll know how to appreciate the comedy, and that tends to be self-deprecating a lot.
Kelly Leonard: Like if you’re a Patton Oswald, you’re talking about how schlubby you are, and that opens up to some… You would be like okay, I can relate to this guy at this level. I just watched the new Jerry Seinfeld Netflix special and one of the things I loved about it, very early he’s like, “You guys know me. We’ve known each other for a while. Like you know I really don’t have to be up here.” It’s a great way of letting the audience know we know he’s super-rich, but we also know he’s just interested in the minutia of daily life, and those two things can coexist. So, I thought that was a brilliant way to enter that comedic conversation.
Pam Harper: So, making messages stick is something that you have to start with the fact that you have to be distant enough maybe from what you’re dealing with to use comedy at all.
Kelly Leonard: Yep. Yep.
Pam Harper: Then you have to figure out what’s appropriate. You have to have a certain self-awareness of your style. Then you have to be able to read the… I don’t know about read the room exactly, but…
Kelly Leonard: It is. It is read the room. It’s that the room is different in many different contexts, so how you deliver your comedy on Twitter is going to be different than how you deliver it on an internal message, which is different than an external message, which is different than a commercial on TV.
Kelly Leonard: So, understanding the different mediums and how comedy is expressed through them… I mean this is why my wife started a major in this stuff because she’s like, people are using it everywhere and none of them are educated in all the different ways and modes of the sort of comedic toolbox.
Kelly Leonard: But I think there’s a reason that the Super Bowl is filled with comedic ads. That is the most expensive TV real estate every year and the bulk of the commercials are comedic because people know that when people laugh they have an emotion, and you want your product to be tied to a positive emotion. That will move people to buy it.
Kelly Leonard: So I think we all get how that works in marketing, but then if you’re doing communication like we’re seeing now, critical communication, if bullets aren’t flying and there aren’t riots on the street you can use comedy to get people to pay attention.
Kelly Leonard: You can also do it to do the opposite. It’s also a way of out-grouping people. That’s what like insult comics do or that’s where racial comedy comes in, and that’s a different kind of really toxic shared laughter.
Pam Harper: Before we were talking with you we decided to do a little research on the subject too, and I couldn’t believe how many different types of humor there are. And of course, that’s why people would want to talk with you at Second City Works, right?
Kelly Leonard: Yes.
Pam Harper: So that was not a planned plug, but it is exactly what we’re talking about…
Scott Harper: It’s improvisation!
Pam Harper: Right. So we’re going to take another quick break, and when we come back we’ll talk more with Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Applied Improvisation at Second City Works, about immediately actionable steps that you can take for employing improvisation and comedy to help messages get through and stick even during a crisis. Stay with us.
Scott Harper: You are listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper, brought to you by Business Advancement Inc. on the web at businessadvance.com.
Scott Harper: Pam, we’ve been talking about the challenges that all of us face in bringing a sense of humor to life, and one of the things that can help us encourage high-quality conversations that can be supported by humor and comedy is to encourage tough conversations that can help us focus on what’s really important. The thing is that sometimes these conversations that really should happen don’t happen.
Pam Harper: For a variety of reasons, especially now when so many companies are taking up with so many different types of gut-wrenching change. It’s easy to get tracked away from unresolved issues and these can grow into elephants in the room. Those are the issues that everyone knows about, no one wants to talk about, and they can lead to major problems that can stop momentum cold.
Scott Harper: So how can you take control of these issues as early as possible? Find out by downloading a copy of a report, How to Take Control of the Elephants in the Room. Go to growthignitersradio.com, select episode 176, and click the link resources.
Pam Harper: Welcome back to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. Over the last two segments, Scott and I have been talking with Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Insights and Implied Improvisation at Second City Works, about using improvisation and comedy to help ourselves and others during a crisis.
Pam Harper: Kelly, remind us again how people can find out more about Second City Works.
Kelly Leonard: They can go to secondcity.com. We also have a Second City Works website, but since this has all happened, we’ve just condensed everything that people can find about the company at secondcity.com.
Pam Harper: Okay. You can also see more by visiting growthignitersradio.com, episode176. Scroll down under resources. We’ll have a link. It’s just another way to find out about what’s happening here.
Pam Harper: Kelly, this is the part of our podcast you may remember when we discuss the practical ways to bring the ideas that we’ve been discussing to life. In this case, it is ideas you can take from employing improvisation in comedy to get the messages through and stick during a crisis. What is the first idea you would have?
Kelly Leonard: I think before anything we need to take care of our people. We have to recognize that they’re in these remote settings and we need them to bring their creative ideas. I mean the best kind of leadership is leadership that is empowering the people around you and they need to know that they’re cared for.
Kelly Leonard: I’ve got a really cool exercise. Can I share it with you?
Scott Harper: Please.
Pam Harper: Absolutely.
Kelly Leonard: This was made by my wife, and it’s around individual and team resiliency and she calls it wish. She has everyone get a piece of paper and a pen, and the first thing she writes down is like write down a thing you wish you could do right now.
Kelly Leonard: So, when I did this, I was like “I want to swim in the ocean. I want to get in like salt water in the ocean. That’s what I want to do.” Then she says “okay, now write down the emotion you think you’d feel if you got to do that.” To me it was like refreshed.
Kelly Leonard: Then she goes “okay, now in the third column when you see that emotion a thing you can do right now to experience that.” So I was like oh, I could take a walk. I could splash water on my face.
Kelly Leonard: The idea here is that yes, this situation is really, really hard, but we have agency and we have tools to basically frame the experience and be in the mindset that we want to be emotionally and otherwise.
Kelly Leonard: I can splash water on my face and that will make me feel refreshed, and that’s what I’m really looking for here. That’s more important than the actual going to the ocean. We’ve done this now in our workshops a number of times and people are like I like this. I’m going to actually do this every morning.
Pam Harper: I like this. We’re going to work on that one too. I like that a lot. So that certainly is immediately useful. What’s a second idea?
Kelly Leonard: Okay, we talked about this in terms of the idea around comedy and your voice and your message. So if you are a company and you want to use comedy, you’ve got to ask yourself some questions. What am I in the business of doing with this message? What is my comic voice? In what medium would that comic voice work well?
Kelly Leonard: You should hire professionals. If it’s not us, there are other experts in comedy, but don’t use it without a license. The important thing, and I think I want to stress this again, we talked about it before, is the authentic nature of your voice.
Kelly Leonard: Like I talked about this with Mayor Lightfoot. She’s not a funny person, but she uses that to her comic expression. It’s that deadpan sort of thing, so it’s really, really effective.
Kelly Leonard: So, know who you are, and then from there in working with professionals find ways you can test this out while not putting on Twitter. Maybe have a focus group with like 10 people you try your stuff in and see if it’s effective, and then you can start to use that voice in the world to make your messages stick.
Pam Harper: Okay. So, have a soft opening?
Kelly Leonard: Yeah, a soft opening. I like that.
Pam Harper: But it also is being clear it sounds like about being honest with yourself, about whether that is something you can comfortably do.
Kelly Leonard: It’s not for everyone. And the other thing that… You said “clear.” I’ll also say specific. The worst thing in the world for comedy is ambiguity. That also happens to be something that’s really bad in ethics. That happens to be something that’s really bad in leadership. Don’t be ambiguous. Be specific.
Pam Harper: Okay, so be specific. How about a third idea?
Kelly Leonard: We talked when I was on your podcast the last time about the idea of “yes, and.” Most people have a general understanding of it because it’s in the vernacular now, and certainly, the tech industry is crazy about yes, and. They just misuse it a lot.
Kelly Leonard: So when we started partnering with the University of Chicago on a thing called the Second Science Project, we were working with behavioral scientists to see what insights we can glean from their work and what they could glean from ours.
Kelly Leonard: When we took the group through the yes, and exercise they said this is great. We get it. We understand why this works and there’s evidence to support your idea, but what happens when we’re in a difficult conversation? What happens when we’re in a moment where we don’t agree at all with the person across from us but we need to stay inside the conversation? Do you have like a mode for that, and we didn’t.
Kelly Leonard: So, both parties went away. The scholars started looking at evidence and we started looking at improv principles, and we discovered what it was, and this sort of fourth pillar around “yes, and” is “thank you, because.”
Kelly Leonard: The idea here is if we’re in disagreement but we need to stay in the conversation I’m going to thank you when you share your opinion I don’t agree with and that’s going to set off the gratitude part of your brain so you’re not going to be in a fight or flight.
Kelly Leonard: Then the because part is crucial. I’m going to find some point of agreement in what you said, even if the point of agreement is I really appreciate how strongly you believe in your opinion because when people felt that they’re seen they will stay with you and they will see you as being something more than just your tribe or your opinion.
Kelly Leonard: We’ve actually tested this. There’s a paper coming out probably in the fall where we’ve employed not just both parties doing “thank you, because,” but even just one party, and it has proved highly effective to people feeling that they can stay inside this conversation.
Kelly Leonard: I bring this up for a reason at this moment, because we are doing everything but that. We are canceling. We are blocking, and there’s no way that we get through this, any of us, if we’re not together, and that is vital. We all have to see each other… We have to see each other as human, with a mind, and this “thank you, because” idea I think is a very powerful way to enter into those difficult conversations.
Scott Harper: Thank you, Kelly. I’m going to steal that idea immediately because it is really powerful. I can just feel it right now.
Pam Harper: It is. Can you leave us with a final thought about improvisation and comedy to make messages stick during a crisis?
Kelly Leonard: Yeah. One of my favorite improv adages is “play the scene you’re in, not the scene you want to be in.” Like we don’t want to be here. We don’t want to be cooped in. The rare super-introvert is like the happiest person in the world, but none of us really are… We’re all on the spectrum, right, and these labels don’t help us and these categories don’t help us. People are many things.
Kelly Leonard: So I think that if we can start to be really fiercely in the moment with ourselves and with our colleagues, if we take care of ourselves and know that when the noise gets too much you can shut it down for a bit and go take a break and take a walk and then splash the water on your face, but then you get back to the work, and the work is in being connected with your teams, having authentic, real conversations, and when you can find those rare moments to share laughter do, because the shortest connection between two people is a laugh.
Pam Harper: I agree. Kelly, thanks so much for being our guest today on Growth Igniters Radio.
Scott Harper: Thanks Kelly, and thanks to you out there for listening to Growth Igniters Radio with Pam Harper and Scott Harper. To check out resources related to today’s conversation, share on social media, read Kelly’s bio and the episode transcript, or even open a conversation with us, go to growthignitersradio.com, select episode 176.
Pam Harper: Until this next time this is Pam Harper…
Scott Harper: And Scott Harper….
Pam Harper: … wishing you continued success and leaving you with this question to consider.
Scott Harper: So, when I’m faced with a difficult situation how can I use comedy appropriately to make it better?