Yes, and …

The Gathering 2012 Cast

As shared on the About page of this blog, I played Doubting Thomas in the Improv Playhouse production of, “The Gathering”.

It was another accidental opportunity. This time, offered by David Brian Stuart.

I found myself in brand new territory. I knew David from other local community events and happenings yet, was never before in a stage play. I was very grateful for this familiarity with David as, it provided a solid foundation to embark upon my theatrical debut.

First things first, we received our scripts. We then began becoming familiar with and, rehearsing our own lines.

Then, we did a few exercises as a group. 

We speed read our lines. This was a tactic to get us “off book” as soon as possible. Even if you did not know your next line, David kept pushing, “Keep going … and, even faster … go!” It was very challenging at the time yet looking back, this exercise was very valuable as, you’re never going to be 100% ready nor, perfect.

Take the hand that you’re dealt and … play it!

Some other techniques within the exercises that I learned with this group are also applicable in other areas of life:

Blocking … breaking a big, scary script down into more manageable parts. This is paramount in Sales. Isolate your main points and then, deliver!

Cueing … picking up on when you’re next. This is key to any effective conversation. Listen, first! Yet, be ready to respond!

As I became more comfortable with my lines, David had me focus more on finding the inner drive both of and, for my character. His (Thomas) true verve. His, “Why?”

I found this part of the process absolutely fascinating as well as quite transferable to a sales and marketing context. The proper, deeper understanding of the customer journey … their “Why?” … will build huge trust and rapport. Over time, it will facilitate and grow a common good for everyone as, business happens in an environment of trust. This type of commerce is very sustainable. You gain life-long clients and customers.

There was a lot of playing off of others. “Theatrical Aikido”, if you will. If a fellow actor froze up then, another actor would step in to keep things moving along.

This is where the approach of “Yes, and …” was very powerful. It was a fluid, ad-lib scenario where whatever was said was then added on to, kind of like “The Telephone Game”, until enough transpired to get the whole cast back on track. There was a lot of earned trust in the group. The mentality was, “We’re all on this stage together.”

Yes, and …

It’s all about stepping outside of your comfort zone yet, within the context of a larger group … towards something bigger. This is an approach that provides so much mental agility which, in turn, fosters an attitude which allows you to apply these techniques to other (life) roles.  In my case: sales, marketing and, fatherhood.

As a salesperson, it’s not always ideal or, comfortable to ask someone for their business yet, when you take the approach of “Yes, and …” you’re starting in a positive spot with an attitude of no constraints. Anything is possible when you approach it from a superior mindset of working together towards common ends. After all, you’re working within a mutually beneficial conversation to deliver a result to the customer and organization. Again, there is mutual gain.

As a Stage Player, you’re working as part of an ensemble cast, delivering a performance to the audience.

As a Marketer, keeping conversations engaging and flowing requires a “Yes, and …” mentality. Each social network has a tempo of its own and, that “Theatrical Aikido” would be well applied.

As a parent (father) to a tween (daughter) … well, you’d best be ready to keep pace. “Yes, and … (well, you fill in the rest)!

With familiarity, flexibility and a solid foundation, you can confidently embark on any life journey that you so desire.

Thanks for reading.

“Yes, and … ” there’s plenty more to come!


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