4 Brainstorming Tips – Using Improv

Brainstorming TipsTips to Super-Charge your Brainstorming Sessions

You set the meeting, gather everyone in the room and sit back ready for the creative magic to happen – except it doesn’t. Been there, done that.

Not only can a typical brainstorming session end up being a waste of time, but invariably, if these sessions are often unproductive, there’s a good chance they’re a reflection of a strained team culture, and they’re contributing to a cycle of negative interaction.

Here are 4 brainstorming tips you can use in your next session to unblock the flow of ideas – (while also helping build a stronger, more supportive team).

 

Brainstorming Tip #1) Define Goals and Identify the Problem

This one isn’t specifically an improv-based strategy, but we’ve found it to be an important first step to set-up a successful brainstorming session.

Before the meeting (and not five minutes before…more like a day in advance), send everyone a clear outline that lays out the purpose of the session. What’s the focus? What problem are you trying to solve? Ask the team to challenge the premise of the problem (question the question).

 

Brainstorming Tip #2) Saying Yes is Great…Saying “Yes, and” is Better

You knew it was coming. The concept of “Yes, and” is foundational in the world of improv and it should be the cornerstone to every brainstorming session.

First, everyone in that room needs to be ready to say “yes”. Saying yes to ideas gets you moving. It’s the acknowledgement and acceptance of an idea, and sets up an environment of support.

With “yes”, as the acceptance of an idea, the “and” becomes the force multiplier – it’s the building upon an idea. All brainstorming needs a “Yes, and” approach to be effective. Not every idea is going to be one you keep, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised where “Yes, and” takes you.

(“Yes, and” is an activity we focus on when we work with clients in the area of Team Building – Team Building in Denver).

 

Brainstorming Tip #3) Save Critical Thought for a Later Date
No one wants to spend time in a meeting, let alone a brainstorming session with the “No, but” person (or even “Yes, but” person for that matter)

It’s very natural for many people to immediately apply critical thought to a new idea. And there’s a time and place where real critique will be needed…that time isn’t during the brainstorming session.

Don’t critique an idea before giving it some airtime and building on it. Being critical right out of the gate not only undermines any chance of that idea reaching its full potential, but it also creates an environment where team members become self-conscious, hold back, feel uninspired and unsupported – shutting down the flow of ideas.

Save the critiquing for stage two (or three).

 

Brainstorming Tip #4) There are no mistakes

Pretty straight-forward. Don’t self-edit. Let the ideation flow without feeling there’s a wrong suggestion, or contribution. Go for it.

 

There you have it. With these tips, brainstorming will be a meeting your staff looks forward to. And just as importantly, they’ll lead to great ideas that elevate your organization.

 

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We work with groups in the area of facilitating Brainstorming and Ideation sessions through our corporate workshops.

If you’d like to learn more, contact us, or you can read more here – Corporate Workshops in Denver

Email us at [email protected] or call 303-578-0079 (extension 6).

Presentation Skills Workshop – Denver

Presentation Skills WorkshopDenver, Colorado – Whether you’re delivering a sales presentation, running a marketing meeting, pitching a new product to management, or addressing your team in a weekly meeting – an improv-based Presentation Skills Workshop will help you succeed in any presenting scenario.

As an organization that creates Presentation Skills Workshops, we have a lot of experience honing in on the key skills, tips and techniques that have an immediate impact.

If you are doing some research, you’ll likely notice a common thread pretty quickly in the Presentation Skills workshops offered – all of them, at some level, will be teaching you the rules and techniques of improvisation. As an improv theatre company, these are skills that we use as the foundation for our corporate workshops (and put on display every night on the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse stage – Improv Theatre in Denver).

Areas we focus on in our customized Presentation Skills Workshop include:

  1. Thinking on your feet: an important skill in any presentation setting, but this is particularly valuable in the sales sector.  Being comfortable “going off script” and truly reacting in the moment, handling questions and objections comfortably and confidently and creating authentic interactions can be a game-changer.
  2. Connecting with your audience. Quickly building rapport with an audience is what we do every night on stage. It’s also an important part of presenting, whether you’re speaking to one person, or 700.
  3. Telling your story. Knowing how to craft a story and have your message hit home when presenting is an invaluable tool. Emotion creates a connection and telling a compelling story is what will drive those positive emotions.

As well as:

  • Expressing ideas clearly and confidently.
  • Handling the unexpected
  • Becoming more self-aware when presenting
  • Active listening and being in the moment
  • Projecting confidence in any situation

These skills and more are covered in our presentation skills workshops. Not only will your team leave with a number of real takeaways they can use in their professional (and personal) lives, but they’ll have a lot of fun.

Contact us to learn more about our Presentations Skills Workshops and how we can design one for your team.

[email protected], or call 303-578-0079 (extension 6).

(Also, if you’re looking for an impactful Team Building experience, check out our popular options – Unique Team Building in Denver)

3 Must-Read Team Building Books

With the holiday season upon us, we’ve poured over the business and leadership books out there (well not really poured over – more like browsed) and came up with a few Team Building Books that will make for great reading, whether as a gift for someone on your list, or for yourself.

We do a lot of work with teams through our Corporate Workshops in Denver (including our Unique Team Building Workshop), focusing on strategies and principles that create productive teams that enjoy working together and supporting each other.

“Teamwork is always at the heart of great achievement,”
– New York Times best-selling author John C. Maxwell

With that, here are three books that provide valuable tips for building successful teams.

Team Building Books

Team Building Books“The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups” – by Daniel Coyle

As a big fan of Adam Grant’s, when he recommended Coyle’s book, that was good enough for us. Coyle, a New York Times bestseller, looks at teams that have enjoyed sustained success (think the Navy’s SEAL Team Six and the San Antonio Spurs) and breaks down the “why” to this success. Why do they work so well together? How do you create a culture that produces this level of success? What key skills are needed to elicit group cooperation?

Many of the strategies and concepts Coyle outlines are very familiar to us here at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse (and other improv-based organizations that offer similar workshops…including our friends at Dad’s Garage with their Team Building workshops in Atlanta) and the work we do with our clients.

“Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility” – by Patty McCord

McCord is the former head of HR at Netflix (or the Chief Talent Officer according to her title). She has a really interesting and innovative take on company culture, motivating staff, and creating great teams. Throughout the book she shares her experiences at Netflix (and other jobs) throughout Silicon Valley – but these ideas are not uniquely applicable only to the tech sector. There’s a lot of great info in here for anyone currently navigating corporate culture, or an entrepreneur, or a student about to embark on your career.

The Power of a Positive Team: Proven Principles and Practices that Make Great Teams Great – by Jon Gordon

Okay, this isn’t the deepest of books (which means you can get through it pretty quickly), but it is full of real life examples and tools you can use. The “we before me!” mantra is easy to identify with, as are his approach to framing difficult conversations from a positive place, empathy’s role in the building strong teams, as well as shared beliefs.

There you have it – three Team Building books to educate and inspire.

 

Voodoo Comedy Playhouse is a Denver-based improv theatre company that works with organizations of all sizes in the areas of collaboration and communication (Team Building Workshops), as well as sessions focusing on shifting corporate culture, being a more agile team and thinking on your feet.

Corporate Workshops in Denver

Corporate Workshops in Denver We love creating impactful corporate workshops in Denver (and throughout the State) with organizations of all sizes, from a wide variety of sectors.

“a superb job putting on a workshop for my team…. every single person was talking about how much they enjoyed the experience…so fun, educational, though-provoking, empowering…my team is better because of it.”
– Patrick Borus, Chipotle Mexican Grill

Whether it’s helping build stronger teams (increasing collaboration and effective communication), improving a sales team’s ability to deliver presentations and think on their feet, creating a culture that is agile, managing change and embracing the unpredictable, or a focus that is unique to your group, we have the experience to design a corporate workshop that produces results, based on your vision.

We had a group coordinating changes across policies, processes, tools, and culture, and we were looking for a group activity that would enable us to have fun while also reinforcing how best to work with multi-functional, large-scale groups. After spending time talking with Steve, we knew he understood how to take these concepts and translate learning into fun activities. We certainly did not know what to expect, and our team was a mixture of folks who were “very nervous” and “can’t wait to get started.” Everyone learned something and were still talking about it the next day.
– Leann Dittman, Comcast Cable Services

(Learn more about our corporate workshops in Denver, including our popular Unique Team Building Workshop package)

As we did with Leann at Comcast Cable Services and Patrick with Chipotle, we consult with our clients prior to our corporate workshops, gathering information about their team, their vision, goals, etc.

Using this information we design your workshop, which will usually be two to three hours (although we can customize for other lengths of time).

Your team will have a great time together, sharing a lot of laughter, as you learn new ways to collaborate, create, communicate, innovate, support each other, etc. working with us in these interactive sessions.

“Thanks for an incredible event! Really rave reviews from the team.”
– Dan Frailey, RuMe

Get in touch to find out more details on what we can custom design for your team.

Email us at [email protected] or call 303-578-0079 (extension 6).

Team Building Activities in Denver (or a Team Outing?)

Team Building Activities in DenverLooking for Team Building Activities in Denver, or are you seeking more of a Team Outing?

Is there a difference you may ask?

Well, actually yes there is.

Both are definitely in the same neighborhood, but quite distinctly on different streets.

First let’s start with the similarities:

  • Both team building and a team outing can add a lot of value for a group.
  • In most instances, the organizer wants the experience to be fun, on some level, for their group.
  • Most team outings are centered around an activity in which the social component is a main focus (organized time spent together).

Think bowling, catching a ball game, painting class, rock climbing, go-karting, trampoline park (for the more adventurous and active teams), or wings, drinks and Monday night football. The goal of connecting the group by spending time together in a recreational setting (i.e. out of the office) can be accomplished in an unlimited number of ways.

Team Building Activities

While again there is certainly an overlap, most team building activities have a different approach. The goals and benefits are structured into the activity (and facilitated by experienced professionals).

We do a lot of Team Building activities in Denver with groups that were initially seeking more of a team outing experience. However, after talking with the organizer, it’s very common to discover that the outcome they were looking for is more suited to a team building activity.

A team outing (or multiple team outings) can be a lot of fun and help connect a group, but they’re not specifically designed to provide techniques, strategies and a template that fundamentally increases the way a team collaborates, communicates and supports each other.

(Check out more info on our Team Building workshops – Unique Team Building in Denver)

Here at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse, we design team building workshops that definitely check the “fun” box, while engaging your group during a customized session that focuses on your team dynamic – from strategies to increase the way you collaborate with each other, as well as across departments, to unleashing your group’s ability to innovate and create together, to techniques that will shift the way everyone communicates with each other, all leading to a more productive, supportive, happier team.

Again, these are facilitated workshops custom designed to your team and workplace.

If you’d like to learn more about what we offer in our Team Building Workshops, connect with one of us and we’d be more than happy to chat.

Team Building Activities in Denver

If you would like to hear a bit about our custom-designed team building sessions, or even how we can create a fun team outing (including watching improv and grabbing a few drinks with your team) connect with us and we’ll be happy to chat.

Email us at [email protected], or call 303-578-0079 (extension 6).

Corporate Entertainment in Denver

Corporate Entertainment in Denver - Voodoo Comedy Playhouse

Top corporate entertainment in Denver – customized, hilarious and memorable.

We’ll deliver a performance that your guest will be raving about!

 

“We used Voodoo for our staff Christmas party and it was super easy, fun and I received so much positive feedback from my staff. It was a great night all around!”

– Miriam Frick, Kid-to-Kid Aurora

 

Whether it’s a staff party, a client appreciation event, a conference, a milestone anniversary, a product launch or whatever you’re celebrating, our team knows how to put on a memorable performance.

We specialize in customizing the performance specifically to your event and group, making for a unique, one-of-a-kind show that will have guests talking long after the show is over.

We’ll work with you to personalize the performance in a way that connects the room through laughter and the interactive experience only a customized improv show can offer.

Your group will help guide the scenes with your suggestions, creating a fresh show that appeals to everyone.

 

Totally customized corporate entertainment in Denver!

“We had an absolute blast! We were able to have food catered and use the facility for the whole event. The show was amazing and geared toward our group. This is top notch improv. I would highly recommend having your group activity at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse!”

– Emily O’Brien, Kaiser Permanente

 

We can come to your venue, or host you here at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse! We’re perfectly located for a corporate event in Denver, with our theatre in the vibrant LoDo/Ballpark district.

Give us a ring, or send over an email and we’ll be happy to discuss how we could be a fit for your next corporate event. We have packages that can work with a wide range of budgets.

(We also offer Team Building in Denver)

 

Contact us to learn more about our entertainment options.

Email [email protected], or call 303-578-0079 (extension 6).

Team Building Ideas in Denver

If your group is looking for Team Building ideas in Denver, we have a few suggestions that could be a good fit.

Whether it’s a fun reward-type of experience, or you feel your team could benefit from an activity that motivates them to collaborate at a higher level, or you’re hoping to build trust amongst the group (or all of the above), there are a number of options that check the boxes.

Team Building Ideas in Denver

Team Building with the Voodoo School of Improv:

As Denver’s leading improv-based corporate team building organization, we’ve been working with companies for years, custom designing memorable team building experiences. Our unique approach will not only have your team creating a lot of laughter together and having a blast, but they’ll also learn techniques that increase their ability to collaborate, to be a more positive and flexible teammate, to be more adaptable to change, embracing the unpredictable and thriving while “thinking on your feet”.

You can read more – Unique Team Building in Denver

A Night of Laughter

Another unique team building outing we offer is bringing your group down to our theatre to catch an improv show (we’re in the heart of LoDoVoodoo Comedy Playhouse running shows five nights a week). There’s something special that happens when a team laughs together. Laughing together is always a great way to ensure a team outing is a success.

Come a little early, grab a drink and hang out before heading in.

Here are few more team building ideas in the Denver area that could be a great fit!

Colorado Mountain MeadowVolunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC)

Get outside and get to work helping the local environment. Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) has corporate volunteer projects that allow your team to roll up the sleeves, head out into nature and give back as stewards of Colorado’s natural resources. It could be as close to home as cleaning up a local park, or heading out to the grasslands or into the mountains, there are many opportunities available.

Cheers

Consider a wine tasting tour with a visit to The Infinite Monkey Theorem (if your team is all over 21 of course). You’ll get a tour of the winery, an education on the winemaking process and get to try out up to five different types of vino.

United Way Denver

Another opportunity to give back within a team building experience. Volunteer Days of Service with the United Way combines community service with the opportunity to build camaraderie while getting outside the office.

 

There you have it – so the next time you’re bouncing around ideas to get the team together, skip the after-work “Happy Hour”…well maybe not skip, but rather add it to one of the above (yes, even the wine tasting, but be responsible of course) and try out something new, unique, fun and hopefully impactful.

Unique Team Building in Denver

Corporate Improvisation

Looking for unique team building in Denver?

Here at the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse we’ve been working with organizations of all sizes throughout the Denver area to deliver team building experiences that have a lasting impact on your group.

Our clients include Intel, PayPal, eBay, Walt Disney Imagineering, Home Depot, Mercedes Benz, Pepsi, and many other corporate, educational and non-profit groups.

As Denver’s premier improv comedy theatre company and improv-based corporate training organization, we specialize in custom designing team building sessions that are game-changers for groups.

Using our innovative approach, we focus on strategies that will increase collaboration and communication, that create an environment where team members actively support each other, where ideas are valued and built upon. As well, techniques that are designed to unleash a group’s creativity and innovation, to provide a template for new ways of managing change and becoming more agile as individuals and as a team and to embrace the unpredictable.

All while producing a lot of shared laughter and team bonding. Not only will your team leave the takeaways they’ll be able to apply immediately, but they’ll have an experience that will become a part of their story.

Our sessions are typically two to three hours in length. We will tailor it specifically to your group, focusing on your vision and desired outcomes.

Whether you’re looking for a fun outing to reward your team, an activity to bring the team together in a supportive setting if they’re dealing with stress, strategies for helping your group manage a shifting workplace landscape (e.g. new management, layoffs, an acquisition, a significant new corporate initiative) – we can create a session that addresses a wide range of desired outcomes.

Team Building in Denver

Get in touch today to learn more about our team building packages.

Email at [email protected], or call 303-578-0079 (extension 6).

Thanks for considering us as an option!

Let’s Feel Good About Something

With all the terrible things happening in the world these past few weeks, you can’t surf the net without seeing that stuff everyday. While that stuff is important, it’s also important to take a step away from it and maybe just check out some positive things that are happening in the world at the same time. When I got to work this morning the first thing I did was Google “Good News”. I think maybe that should be a weekly exercise for people who use the internet all the time. Or even if you only use it once a week. Although this is a comedy blog, nothing here is really funny but I think you just need to feel good. Here are a few things that I found through my search that should help you through the day.

Dr-Ivankovich                                                 Surgeon Treats Thousands Unable To Pay

 

uLMER                                                Teacher Starts Everday With Compliments

 

bikes-Mitchell-Police-Department-FB                                               Bikes Restored by Inmates For Kids without Bikes

I hope these things make your day better and maybe even inspire you to do something kind even if it’s something very small.

-KJ Willy

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting Funny Apps around the Play store

There’s ton’s of lists of apps to look through, this is a short one. But it probably took me longer to write this post than the other one’s. These apps found in the Google Play Store are supposed to funny/entertaining, after all this is a comedy blog.

#1 – The Ministry of Silly Walks. This app allows you to relive the very hilarious, once widely known silly walks performed by the great John Cleese Himself in “The Ministry of Silly Walks” Sketch on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. “As you and your stiff upper lip travel through the streets of London take care to avoid obstacles and pesky pigeons. Bank coins and collect power ups to help take your walk to new heights of silliness.” If that doesn’t get you going, well, no matter who you are really you have to see a sketch.

Haha! From that comes this:

Truly Amazing. Click here to get it.

#2 – Goat Simulator. After downloading this, you can live your second life as a goat. An insane goat (you control him). Who defies the laws of physics and gravity, and it’s amazing…and hilarious. Also it gets creepy at times when you see the goats head flopping around. Here is a horrifying taste:

If you wish to partake in the goat party click here.

#3 – Finally this app here is for your friends who are in fact, not funny. Do you ever get tired of not saying anything or telling them with your own voice, that their jokes just are not and will never be funny? Have no fear, just install “That’s not funny” Free from the Play Store. I couldn’t find any videos featuring this app so I just downloaded real quick. After all I was at work and there were people, talking to me. So yes I used it right away and it worked great. This app features sounds such as crickets or a crowd booing. Also the classic rimshot for sarcasm, and a few other classics. After scrolling through the sounds you reach the voices featuring the likes of Homer (Be more Funny!) and Will Ferrell (You do not interrupt me!). That is pure gold. So download it and use it at work, everyday.

-KJ Willy

Post Script

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