Soar to Success: Bob Kulhan Uses Improv to Help Businesses Soar to Success

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Have you ever been in a business meeting or situation and found yourself thinking about what you were going to say next, instead of actively listening? Do those conversations end up building trust between you and the others? These scenarios cease to be a problem when you are trained in Business Improvisation®

Bob Kulhan has been helping business people understand and react more successfully for over 20 years, using his skills in improv.

He was a member of Chicago’s famed Second City acting group and has performed in the iO and Annoyance Theaters, as well as the PIT in New York City.

In our interview, Bob explains his technique of, Yes, And, explained in his book, “Getting To YES And-The Art of Business Improv.” The phrase, Yes, and, is the cornerstone of improvisation. For example, in a sales conversation, rather than being satisfied with a No answer, or an objection to your presentation, simply respond with, Yes, And — what can we do to make our product work for you? Always keep the client engaged and let them tell you what they need and explain how you can fill that need. Read More

Improvisation in Leadership Education: “Making Interactions with Others More Positive and Meaningful”

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The Online Journal of New Horizons in Education April 2020 Volume 10, Issue 2

Improvisation is synonymous with unplanned performances. Paradoxically, successfully engaging in improvisation involves structured underlying techniques. These structured elements have transferable applications to leadership and organizational development. The purpose of this research project is to explore students’ experiences engaging in improvisation during a weeklong graduate course. We employed a basic interpretive qualitative approach to examine learners’ perceptions around the applications of improvisation tenets and strategies to their professional lives. Results from this study highlighted that the use of the improvisational tenet yes, and motivated participants moving beyond a personal agenda to promote collaboration. Improvisation also facilitated the assessment and mindful adjustment of energy to inspire authentic engagement with others to build trust. Additionally, learners embraced spontaneity to hone their ability to adapt and react in time to change. Read More

SHIPS: The Vessels For A Meaningful Life

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We are excited to share Bob Kulhan’s most recent interview with Pat McAndrew on the SHIPS podcast. It’s a great episode about how improvisational theater techniques can help us better communicate and interact in the corporate world. You don’t want to miss it! You can listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, and many other podcast platforms. Enjoy! 
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What Startups Can Learn From Improv Comedy

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indexThe things that make improvisational comedy work are often the same things that make a new company successful

Thinking on your feet. Keeping an audience engaged. Forging employees into a team.

They’re all crucial skills for entrepreneurs. And that is why many founders are turning to improv comedy for help running their business. They believe that the core ideas of improv comedy—riffing spontaneously on novel situations and interactions with other performers—can help spark creativity, collaboration and trust among startup employees.
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Twelve Minute Convo with Engel Jones

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Bob Kulhan is President, CEO, and Founder of Business Improv, an innovative consultancy that specializes in experiential learning and serves an international roster of blue-chip firms. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and Columbia Business School.

A performer with over 20 years of stage credits, he has trained with a long list of legendary talents, including Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. An actor and former core faculty member in Chicago’s famed Second City and a member of the former resident company at the iO Theater,

Kulhan is a co-founder of the critically acclaimed Baby Wants Candy improv troupe. His work has been featured by such outlets as Big Think, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, the Financial Times, NPR, Slate, and the Wall Street Journal. Read More

Forbes: What Seven Of The Best Business Books Of 2017 Taught Us This Year

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Forbes-logoThis year, our shelves were packed with books profiling the personal and enterprise effects of globalization in the new economy. Covering topics as wide as how to improve workplace resiliency through improv comedy to reimagining corporate hiring strategies to leverage the gig economy, seven of my favorites lent sharp new insight into the direction of the labor market and enterprise’s response to it.

Here are my seven favorite books this year and what you can learn from each:

2. “Yes, and …” can make your workplace more resilient.

Bob Kulhan, founder of Business Improv, is as much a master improviser as he is a skilled businessman and his book, Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv, makes for a colorful and insightful read into the dynamics of improving workforce resiliency. Based on Kulhan’s decades of experience teaching the tenets improv to business leaders, the book explains how acceptance and adaptability — two of the main tenets of improv — are essential to ensuring smoothness of day-to-day functioning within an organization and its teams. Teaching momentary situational analysis, snap decision making and workplace camaraderie makes this book an excellent read for any manager looking to build a great team.
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