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Improv Cards and Storytelling

What makes Management 3.0 stand out from other management workshops and books? We like to think a lot! But one of the most notable bits is that it’s laid out like a children’s book, so much more full of color and original and engaging images than any other leadership guide. These images – even without insightful advice, examples from revolutionary leaders, and proactive steps to take alongside them – encourage people to speak a thousand words. Thus, we decided to make a game out of!

Technical people sometimes think that anything that is too human is not serious. It’s not appropriate… When you realize that this is something good and powerful, that you can make part of yourself to tell stories, then you can look to improve that. That is the Improv Cards.

 Juan Gabardini, Kleer Agile Coaching & Training

Improvisation Encourages Communication and Team Collaboration

Once upon a time there was a brilliant team who wanted to shout about it to management. Yet none of them knew how to make a compelling presentation of their work. They knew exactly what they wanted to say, but they didn’t have the skills to tell the story and they stumbled through their question and answer session, because they were unable to improvise on the spot under question fire.

Does this sound familiar?

Very few people in life are natural born storytellers. Storytelling is the oldest way of passing along information, in which facts can be relayed as powerful statements and where new ideas can blossom. A storyteller must be able to improvise, if they want to connect with their audience and relay their story effectively. Both skills take a lot of practice to master.

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Improv Cards for better Storytelling

Improv Cards are a great exercise to hone your storytelling and improvisational skills. They help people become better communicators and are great tools to use during team building sessions.

Each team or pair gets a set of cards, which they lay out in no particular order. One person is chosen to improvise a story from the drawings on the cards. As each person’s perception of the images on the card are different, the exercise sparks creativity in the participants, who in turn choose how to interpret the card and tell the story in their own way.

Using Improv cards brings people out of their comfort zone, teaching them how to be better communicators and work beyond their limits. With these skills, employees at all levels will be able to communicate a brand new idea, present a work project status or just communicate upwards what great work their team are producing!

How to Play Improv Cards

You start out with a deck of 52 cards with intriguing images from Managing for Happiness. As their name suggests, you can do whatever you want with them – it’s all about helping your team improvise and come up with more ideas and share stories.

You could also call them story-telling cards. Some facilitators and managers put the cards face down in the middle. Pulling one at a time, participants and team members pull cards blindly from the pile, each sharing a work-life story that they associate with the image.

All of the activities are quite liberal in their rules as we believe leadership practices and team-building exercises should be highly adaptable to your unique team. It’s all about the three Easy E’s of Management 3.0: Exchange, Experience, Examples. Do what works best for you and your team!

Improv Cards in Action