Adam Tobin: And it’s something we’ve all experienced in that room, and no other talk will experience that. Very calm and comfortable, but so comfortable in his own skin. Matt Abrahams: I think it’s important for us to distinguish between script and structure. This is a story I tell in the class that Matt and I teach together. Dan Klein: So someone challenging you, someone being sort of negative or a problem, we’re instantly reframing that. Can you share a little bit about where you think that challenge comes from? You can’t be worried about everything that could happen if I’m shaking your hand and asking you a question. We’ve talked about a lot of really interesting, useful skills that people can use to feel more comfortable speaking in a spontaneous way. Like if you get the wrong name, that’s fine. Some [unintelligible] that we’re talking about is where you don’t know anything about the story and you’re figuring it out right there in the moment. Adam Tobin: Right. We know the scenes. But if you loosen the restrictions that you put on yourself, interesting things can happen. Dan Klein: Yeah. Stanford improv experts discuss the art of in-the-moment communication in this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart. It is one of the leading business schools in the United States. What five to seven words would be on your slide title? But really to parse it and say when you’re met with something, see that as an opportunity. You have to be open. We are experts, by the way. He would disarm them so easily. Matt Abrahams: What I found so interesting about this, and I don’t know, Adam, if you want to comment on it, is when I participated in this game, people get so frustrated because they feel that they’re not doing the game right. That was I don’t need to have all the answers. And this notion of structure gives you the how I’m going to say it. But what we don’t realize is that by trying to meet every goal in our head, we’re shutting ourselves off from material. Both are next door to exceptional undergraduate programs that regularly usher in radical new technologies. And a great way I think for people to help get in that present moment, not when they’re playing improv games because improv games invite that but taking time to greet your audience. I think it’s true in talks as well. Silicon Valley. And you only know that if you’re paying attention. In the moment when an audience member is challenging, when they ask a question that might have an aggressive tone to it, something that might put you on the defensive, especially if you’re not that confident about that specific area, one of the things that I learned as a facilitator, and I’ve seen it happen over and over again, is that person is the most engaged. Be ready. Adam Tobin: And I’m a huge believer in structure in film and television, too. We go into a different set of systems. Adam is a senior lecturer in Film and Media Studies here at Stanford University, and a teacher in Continuing Studies. And there’s a British comedian storyteller named Daniel Kitson who was hosting it was an event called Late and Live. For many people, though, it’s very nerve-wracking to go from that monologue to dialogue, to letting other people in. So Adam, what’s one thing you would put in? Sometimes you’ll get it right and sometimes you get it wrong. Taken together, those are the skills that will help somebody become a better spontaneous speaker. And that obvious thing is kind of your voice, right? That I think is really the crux of what hinders a lot of people in these situations is that ability to let go. Dan Klein: And if you’re picturing the words themselves as they appear on the page, you’re in a completely different space than an actual communicator. And I find that it’s really exciting to go out and try to get a little bit lost. Almost 20 years ago, I went to the Edinburg Fringe Festival. And when I tell students that, especially here at Stanford, these high-achieving students, I can tell that they don’t really believe it. That’s wonderful training. And also, let’s include in that this notion of listening. But we also encouraged people to plan your story, rehearse it, practice it, but don’t memorize it because it’s like the life force gets pulled out when you’re just reciting the lines. Matt Abrahams: Absolutely. I think ultimately, having some trust in yourself is a really powerful ingredient. And so the idea of like dare to be dull, or be obvious. In both individuals and groups, those who use profanity tend to be more fucking honest. You need building blocks a little bit. It’s about your listener. So if someone does something funny to be celebrated, as the teacher, as the host, to call it out, you get that laugh, but you get it in service of the other person and of the message. It’s not the step-by-step street name that you go to to get to where you want to be. It’s about your partner. And if anything, it might be the more memorable thing when you leave of like, “Oh, that moment,” because it’s a live moment. Not high status. But I also want, if something goes wrong, for them to be able to be present and improvise. Like you have permission to call things gibberish. In a spontaneous situation, the structure you leverage is very, very important. But I’m going to turn this into a little bit of an improv game. Even if they’re beautiful and well-crafted, if you’re reading it, there’s something that’s missing. Adam Tobin: Yeah. Cox hopes his course, which promises to impart the “the secret language of power that will help students project authority while remaining true to themselves,” will help future leaders become more “skilled in relationships, in influence, and in communication.” TV competition. You had to take the offer that he was giving you and see it as an offer, that there was something of value there. Where is this coming from?” And it turned out the deeper source was something useful for both of us. And I would never have had that if my mindset wasn’t get a little bit lost. We are so driven to be interesting. Lifelong Learning: Online Stanford Business Mag Stanford Business Insights GSB Town Square GSB Webinars GSB on ... At Stanford University Publications & Media. Dan Klein: I love that. It’s about them. But to have flexed these other muscles and be able to have another approach so we can choose in certain situations to turn off the evaluation and the judging and act in another way. But what paraphrasing does is like what they said, you’re saying again and you’re kind of like living in that space for a little moment, right? It never occurred to me. I think of athletes who for years have been practicing what they do. He seems always him. 10+ years as a reporter, producer, and director for National Public Radio and Marketplace. Dan Klein: For about seven years here at Stanford, my wife and partner Michelle Darby and I taught a class on storytelling where we taught people to get up on stage and tell a true story in front of a live audience. I see them kind of emerge and show up as themselves, which is something that they’ve been holding back. At the GSB he co-teaches (with Professor Deb Gruenfeld), “Acting With Power” which explores the use of status behaviors to increase organizational effectiveness. The thing we shouted was a repeat of something I’ve said before. And beyond that, we bring all this baggage of all these different ways to judge the idea that we’ve come up with. Co-designing and teaching the first improv-based MBA management course at Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) Authoring and publishing 80 business cases, which are taught in MBA classrooms at Stanford. And there’s a version of improv which is just ad libbing. Dan Klein: Yeah. But in that high-stakes situation, that pitch, that putt where, all of a sudden, they fail or they struggle because of that over-awareness that you’re talking about. You don’t have to change everything you’re going to do, but reference something that’s come up on that day in that moment so that your talk is particular to that space and that time. Dan Klein: There’s a moment when we feel that the pressure is on. GSB Fall 2021 Alumni Weekend and Class Reunions - SAVE THE DATE 09/30/2021 to 10/03/2021 Knight Management Center, Stanford CA 94305 I need to be okay enough, comfortable enough being uncomfortable, that I can plug in. It’s about making your partner look good. Adam Tobin, Senior Lecturer, Film & Media Studies Program, Stanford Adam Tobin is a screenwriter, playwright, and actor. We’re in that weird state. And that is shoot for average and fail cheerfully. And the person I pitched it to said to me, “Tell me why this isn’t a sci fi story.” And I thought [laughs], this isn’t a sci fi story. But we are expert at that because, for most of the time, we’re improvising. And if the obvious thing you say is what everyone else was thinking, then they’ll just think you’re brilliant for saying it. It’s like their mind-body is running away from them. Stanford GSB Stanford GSB Logo. And when there are structures, you can kind of say, “Okay, here’s what I’m doing first,” or, “Normally, I would do that first, but I’m going to switch it around.” And it just gives you a basis in which to play. Dan Klein: And then the last round is you’re free. And once we’re doing that, we’re in a completely different psychological, emotional, your view of the room and the world shifts after just 45 seconds. Have some quick conversations. Be obvious is the most powerful, creative mantra that there is. Curious to know your thoughts about that listening and that present orientation. Alumni Recruitment. So one of you will truly be being spontaneous. That’s a mantra that I share a lot. Programs help students launch careers of … I’ll never forget when I went for my first martial arts black belt, somebody I trust and a mentor, right before I went to do the test, he looked at me and said, “Have fun.” And I was in total utter shock. And for me, it just brings to light all the different ways that we strangle ourselves from speaking because it might not be appropriate, it might not be interesting enough. Stanford Improvisors - SImps. Matt Abrahams:I think for folks who find themselves in situations where they’re handling objections or taking questions, this advice and guidance is critical. Matt Abrahams: Who’s a communicator that you admire and why? Latest was Quick Thinks: All Effective Communication Must Start With This. Dan Klein: Okay, what did you just ask me? And I turned right, and literally half a block, they made a native plants park in between two streets. There’s a wonderful saying that comes from the world of improv, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, but this notion of Dare to Be Dull. Matt Abrahams: So you point at a lamp, and then when you point at the computer, you call it a lamp. Adam Tobin: There’s so much pressure to be outstanding and original and break the paradigm. Together with Faculty, students explore these topics using five case examples, each asking students to evaluate a series of situations, develop alternatives for their resolution, and ultimately recommend and implement a course of action from the point of view of the company's owner/manager. Stanford improv experts discuss the art of in-the-moment communication in this episode of Think Fast, Talk Smart. Contact: Claudia Dorn Manager of Resources and Community Office of the Vice President for the Arts Adam Tobin: But I was present and I failed cheerfully. Dan Klein: I know, I thought of that early and then I planned to say it. Stanford GSB difference draws on the forward-looking intellectual vitality of its students and faculty, a commitment to principled and personal leadership, a culture of collaboration and innovation, a global orientation, and a tightly connected alumni network. Thank you for that and thank you for joining today. Stanford and startups simply belong in the same sentence. Stanford GSB’s Initiative for Leadership Education and Development (I-LEAD) is designed to significantly increase the capacity of our MBA students in a different way. They want to be interesting. Like I don’t want to get so lost that it’s actually physically dangerous and I might be in trouble. They’ve taught the keys to forming deep connections in the MBA classroom — now they’ve turned those lessons into a book. It brings you into that present moment. Students from Business, Engineering, Education and the Humanities come together to solve big, messy problems. But you’re only going to discover new things that way. I just want to pull it back in. About our speaker: Debra Schifrin is a consultant and Lecturer in Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Adam Tobin: I mean, one thing that was very powerful that I learned was from you, Matt, which is to make this into a conversation rather than a performance. And yet it’s always him. 661 likes. Adam Tobin: I just had an insight about paraphrasing, which is you’re kind of extending the now, right? And not only see it as an opportunity but build on it, run with it. Am I pausing the way that I had planned? Also, I would like that surgeon to be able to talk to me about [laughs] what’s going on. I’m sorry. And use something from the room in your talk. What this person was doing was actually asking me for ammunition that he could then take to his boss to sell my story. And the same is true in improv. If something happens in the room that you can call out that gets the laugh, it’s not you generating a joke and saying, “Look at me.” It’s sort of being present in the moment. But taking that approach really made a big difference. Stanford University was founded in 1885 by California Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, in memory of their son Leland Jr. It’s a private institution located in the gorgeous heart of the California Bay Area. How will we know when we’ve come to the end? The exciting buzz of start-up opportunities and entrepreneurial spirit permeates student life on campus, with an impressive offering of excellent STEM and humanities majors. One of my favorite stories is that when I first moved to the Bay Area before GPS, I would go to San Francisco, and every time I would get lost. That’s all right. The SImps are an improv theater group from Stanford University! And in general, it’s this sense that a playground structure allows kids to climb up and over and through and around and run around and make it into a mountain or make it into something else. Adam Tobin: Yeah. Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California.Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Dan Klein: Adam already said it earlier. You’re not going to fight with them, but they are an opportunity. And I fully believe if you take the approaches that we’ve talked about and the mindset, it puts you in a place where you can then think about the different structures, maps, approaches that you want to take and, therefore, plug the information in. And that’s what’s genuine. And specificity and naturalness. But also, it’s like, “Okay, before we rush on to what we think about that or what that means, like let’s take a moment and just be in that for a sec.” And it doesn’t take a long time, but it’s in the now. And I know that improvisation and both of you have some thoughts about how we perceive and frame those interactions. And Daniel was the host of it. It’s like everyone’s attention is on us and we have to perform. Connect with the Stanford GSB on social media for in-depth news, research, insight, and expertise from industry leaders, executives, and practitioners around the world. When we think about our communication at work, we tend to focus on those time-consuming presentations. … If you’re like locked into a script or locked into this idea of how you were going to do it, and something is going on, you’re totally not connecting with your audience, with their needs. The thing we shouted was too interesting. if not, then just take a class where you think you might meet interesting people. We’ll give you credit. Her purpose in founding this group was to provide guidance and a curricular structure for a select group of students who had shown promise and aptitude in the study of improvisation. That’s an important skill, too. How can this be fun? Take time to get to know them. So I’d like to hear from each of you a bit about how present orientation helps in spontaneous moments. Adam Tobin: And it’s amazing people can shut down, or sometimes people can talk too much. So you call out what the last thing you pointed out was called, which really messes with your brain. It was 10 yards away from where I was, and I had a walk in nature with native plants completely transported. And would one of you like to help articulate why daring to be dull is so liberating? But it’s much more like I’m in a conversation where I’m putting information out. His work at Hasso Platner Institute for Design involves teaching workshops on Improv and Design for interdisciplinary graduate students studying Design Thinking. And in the boundaries of this game, the rule is Shout the Wrong Name. And that mindset shift of I’m presenting, I’m in front of a group. Dan Klein: Here’s something we haven’t quite talked about, but it fits into everything. Dan Klein: is a brilliant improvisor and director here in the Bay Area who’s created amazing theater for more than 30 years. And I’ll notice that, and I’ll treat it as an offer. If one of you could describe the game and use this as a way to help us understand how we get in our way. I think those three ingredients would make for a wonderful, spontaneous speaker. And they’re still sort of holding themselves back. So Dan, I’m going to start with you. Hong Kong GSB Chapter SBSAA: GSB Alumni Assoc GSB Alumni in Asia Stanford Club of HK. Dan Klein: Well, I think that’s it exactly. On this podcast episode, strategic communication lecturer Matt Abrahams talks with two Stanford improv experts, Adam Tobin and Dan Klein, about spontaneous speaking and how to become more comfortable and confident in the moment. It is not about you. So take that energy, get delighted. And then when you point at the wall, you call it computer. But also, I mean, I do think that when you have a script that you’ve written out, you’ve added all these other layers of judgment to it. MIT Sloan and Stanford GSB are two of the top Business Schools in the world. Award-winning economist Susan Athey, noted econometrician Guido Imbens, corporate finance expert Joshua Rauh, and others to join Stanford GSB faculty. The class profile paints a picture of how the typical student in this year’s Stanford MBA class stacks up in terms of scores, demographics and work experience. The Stanford Improvisors was founded in the spring of 1991 by Patricia Ryan, Sr. And it wasn’t until the seventh or eighth time that I got lost and I looked up and I said, I don’t know where I am, but I’ve been lost here before. You have to see how this is now an opportunity to expand and extend versus to just offend and entrench. Adam Tobin: Right. Even with all of that, we say you should memorize the first line and the last line. They’re fired up in another way. Dan Klein: It’s an ego boost, but it also says we’re alive and together. So we all are involved with situations where the students we teach or the clients we coach feel challenged by spontaneous speaking. Another way to make sure that you’re listening well and understanding is using paraphrasing. You’re not putting on any kind of fake version of yourself to try to impress people. The Fund is managed by students with oversight from professors Paul Pfleiderer and Ken Singleton, and under the guidance of the Center for Social Innovation. Dan and Deb also do a version of the class for executive education programs like the Executive Program for Social Entrepreneurs. And I think that’s one of the big key aha moments I have I doing the work that I’ve done with you all is that we stifle creativity before we actually have an opportunity to be creative because we’re evaluating. You could call it the previous thing, or you could call it the next thing or something else in the room or something not in the room, or something that’s not even a thing. You’re giving information back. Matt Abrahams: Right. And you both know, and I’ll share with everybody listening, I have a very strong bias towards structure. Cox is currently teaching a course at Stanford GSB on “group dynamics and body language” entitled Acting with Power. Experience Stanford business and medicine in a health care leadership program featuring design thinking and personal leadership skill development. Before we start getting into specific tips and tricks about how to manage in these situations, I really think a lot of what you guys teach has to do with mindset and approach. Matt Abrahams: That was a softball there, Dan [laughs]. Speaking Without a Net: How to Master Impromptu Communication, Stanford Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate, 8 Podcast Episodes to Listen to Over the Holidays, Nine Stanford Professors Make Suggestions for Your Holiday Reading, How to Make Complex Ideas More Accessible, Communicating Our Multiple Selves: How to Manage Your Reputation. So can you share some ideas about how we get out of our own way? Even just the ability to ad lib, to know where you are but be fully present and let the words come to you as you’re there. Matt Abrahams:I really think this is critical, to take the time to understand how much pressure we put on ourselves and how much judging we do of ourselves that gets in the way of us actually being able to do what it is we want to do. But it’s also true. In this podcast episode, we explore techniques for presenting complicated information so your audience can more easily understand. I asked a question back, as Dan said, “Tell me more. The goal is to emphatically declare the name. Our mentor, Patricia Ryan Madson, she had a mentor in improvisation. Not aggressive. In 2017, she co-designed and began teaching the GSB’s first improv-based MBA management course, one of the only such courses in the world. Adam Tobin: Yeah. written New Faculty Enrich the Stanford GSB Experience. And for me, that was a mindset shift. Henry Most GSB Lecturer. I think those skills can be learned over time. TIL a Stanford study (2016) found a positive correlation between use of profanity and honesty. 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