The power of yes... (or how to be great at improv.)

A couple of friends of mine back in the UK do improvisation comedy and they are brilliant. From the Edinburgh Fringe to TV - they are quick, witty and insanely funny . But why? For most of us the thought of being funny on demand causes us to break in to a sweat.

The secret of great comedy is, so we're told... timing.

The secret of great improv is simply saying yes,.

We've all been in those conversations where all new and different ideas are shut down with a 'no' or 'no... but...' People who seem to specialise in closing off any chance of innovation, new ideas or the opportunity to do something different.

I have enjoyed life a lot more by saying ‘yes’ than by saying ‘no’
— Richard Branson

Improv works because the partner in the conversation says 'yes' and yes opens the door to a crazy world of unending possibilities. Like that old-school Mine Sweeper game, you click on a grey square and a whole new area opens up.


The comedy, the show, the artists and the creativity die when we say no.

Yes means I want to explore it doesn't mean you've closed a deal.

So next time someone presents you with the craziest, most off the wall idea - say yes and see what happens. 

The next time someone says "what if..." - say yes and see where you end up.

Yes opens up a whole new adventure.