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ER&L 2014

March 16–19, 2014

Austin, Texas

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WORKSHOP | IMPROV in the workplace? Improve in the workplace. Using improvisation techniques to cultivate dynamic and effective communication at work (or anywhere)

Date & Time TBD
Conference Track

4. External Relationships


training, public speaking, communication, improvisation, external relationship management

Learning Objectives

1. See that they are able to think on their feet.

2. See how adaptability, listening skills, on-the-spot-thinking, and trusting your instincts can all be fostered through interesting, fun group activities


Success in the workplace with customers, colleagues, and management begins and ends with effective communication skills. But how do you begin? We spend all day talking but how do we know when we’re being heard? When we’re being effective? This workshop will begin to answer these questions by examining communication through the lens of improvisational comedy techniques.

 We will focus on how the basics of long and short form improvisation underscore the building blocks essential to effective communication:

- Listening

- Adapting

- Finding the possibilities for “yes”

- Trusting your colleagues

- Trusting your instincts

The workshop will begin with a theoretical framework for understanding pain points in workplace communication and will then break out into group exercises highlighting ways to rethink these pain points to find more effective solutions.

 NOTE: These workshops are NOT about being funny, making you funny, or making you into improvisers. The purpose is using the vehicle of improv to allow you to rethink your communication paradigm. Oh, and to have fun. The point is to have fun while doing it.

Workshop facilitators are the members of Sistine Robot, a long-form indie improvisational troupe, based out of Washington D.C (www.facebook/sistinerobot). Its members have a combined 40+ years of experience doing scripted and unscripted theater and comedy in the Washington D.C. area and most of them teach improv regularly. By day Sistine Robot’s members work in publishing, sales, social work, non-profit theater, law enforcement, and think tanks so they understand the challenges of communication in the workplace.

Sistine Robot members have taught corporate trainings across the DC area and most recently ran a workshop at the Charleston Library Conference in Charleston, South Carolina. If you’d like to hear feedback from the attendees of that session, email us at and we’ll put you in touch with librarians who attended.

The workshop will include two breaks and conclude with a brief 15 minute performance by the troupe for workshop attendees.


Sara Rouhi, American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications
Kate Symes, Sistine Robot, Long Form Improv Troupe from Washingon DC
Jamie Bingner, Sistine Robot, Long Form Improv Troupe from Washingon DC
Dan Miller, Sistine Robot, Long Form Improv Troupe from Washingon DC