If you read this article, and apply at least 10% of it, I promise you that your career, your relationships, your conversations, and your life in general, will improve drastically.
Also, if you think there is no way to improve your life then please don’t read it because you will waste your time. The last thing I want to do is waste your time, and if you think you can’t improve you are absolutely right.
Now that we are left with the ones that want to improve let’s get to it.
San Valentine’s day was just a couple of days ago and I am sure some of you had some uncomfortable conversations. Have you been in a conversation where you are suggesting places to go eat and the other person just says “No” to everything you suggest? Or maybe they don’t say no right away but they say something like “Oh yes, that place is really nice but I don’t feel like going there now”.
Notice how that response is almost exactly the same as a “No”. In fact, it is actually worse because it got your hopes up in the beginning only to deny you at the end.
Maybe you are working on a project with a team and you share an idea… Only to hear someone say “That sounds great but why don’t we…” Again that but kills all the enthusiasm you had.
I am going to share with you a secret technique. It has remained secret because most people know it but don’t use it. The best part is that I know it will remain that way. Probably 1 or 2 of the people that read this will actually put it in practice.
Are you going to be one of those two?
The Ultra-Secret Technique
One thing that I have been doing lately, and that I recommend, is that when I hear a recommendation from different sources (friends, mentors, books, podcasts, etc.) I start applying without questioning it.
We cannot read all the books we get recommended, or do all the activities that people recommend us to do, because there are only 24 hours in a day. That is why we have to prioritize and align our activities with our goals. But there is an exception to this rule of prioritizing.
Level 1 hasn’t finished and I can already see the value that this class has brought into my life.
Enter The Secret Technique: “Yes, and…”
Do you want to go eat “x”? Yes, and… we could go have desserts at “y”.
Do you want to “x” for the presentation of the project? Yes, and… we could also do “y”.
It sounds silly, but once you start living a “Yes, and…” life everything starts to flow. You can apply it to anything. Going from a “No” or “but” to a “Yes” is already an improvement. But to take it to the next level the “and…” is completely necessary.
Let’s examine a conversation that happens usually so that we can see the value of “Yes, and…” in the context of networking and advancing your career.
The Conversations that Go Nowhere
Have you ever been involved in a conversation that you feel is going nowhere even when you are trying really hard to keep it going?
It could be something like:
A: Hello Bill, how is your day going?
B: Not so good Amy.
A: Well I understand; the weather is awful today but at least we are finishing that big project.
B: Yes at least we are finishing the project.
A: The best part is that thanks to the last adjustments we made I am sure that we will be able to get the budget approved. I am very excited about it!
B: That is true, we will probably get the budget.
A: We should probably have the next steps ready, for the first 30,60, and 90 days of the project. To show that we were confident that we were getting the approval.
B: Definitely, let’s have the next steps ready.
Enough suffering for Amy. Do you see how Amy was the one carrying the conversation? It is true that Bill was always starting with “Yes”, but without the “and” all the responsibility of moving forward with the interaction is on Amy.
And this can happen in many situations. When you are trying to make small talk with someone you just met, or with your teammates when you are trying to move forward with a project. Be sure that you are adding value, and the “and..” is that part.
Improv and Business
The “Yes, and…” concept is just the tip of the iceberg.
There are so many great concepts and drills, that we have learned during the class, that are 100% applicable to anything that you do, and especially to businesses and your career.
It will help you public speaking skills without a doubt, but most importantly it will help you develop your listening skills. When you are in a scene with someone you have to be actively listening so that the scene can flow. You have to listen with your eyes and with all your senses.
Have you been listening so far?
You Have the Power
Now you know the ultra-secret technique. But it won’t work unless you work with it. You have to take action.
But if you really want to take it to the next level I would recommend you to take the Level 1 Improv Class at Station Theater. On February 18th they are starting a new class. Saturdays from 2 to 4pm, and it goes for 8 weeks. For more information about the classes, go here.
Our level 1 class is ending this week, with our recital during the weekend, and I know this is just the beginning. We have an amazing group that has been growing together for the past 8 weeks. We have learned how to identify, connect with, and express our emotions. We have learned how to get out of our heads and to be kids again and enjoy the moment.
The most important thing is that we have learned about each other, we have been vulnerable and because of that we are all stronger now and that allows us to add value in everything we do.
I hope that we can meet soon at Station Theater. I will be there, will you?
Learning and sharing knowledge are my passions, let’s connect if those are yours too.