May I have a suggestion for….presentation tips from an Improviser

Practicing how we say one small phrase can do wonders for enhancing presentation skills.

“May I have a suggestion for… ” is something we hear at Improv shows. In fact, it fuels audience participation and reminds us (lest we forget!) that everything is fully Improvised.

Beginning Improvisers practice this opening and many of their learned habits spill over into presentation skills and confidence building. Here are some tips:

1. Ask for what you want

  • May I have a suggestion for a location – is straightforward and clear. Ask for what you want – be specific and commit as much as possible.

2. Pay attention to status 

  • How much space are you taking up when you ask for a suggestion? Are you focusing your energy inward, or outward?
  • Non-verbal communication – engage the audience, smile, make eye contact, use your non-verbal communication to exude confidence and presence even though you may be shaking on the inside.
  • Volume – more important than we remember. The back of the house needs to hear you, so, sing out, Louise!

3. Make your partner look good

  • In this case, your partner may be the audience, and/or your fellow players – you can make them look good by complimenting their suggestions, ideas and when a suggestion doesn’t inspire you, go back to asking for what you want. Of course no one wants to see someone linger for 3 minutes deciding which suggestion to take.
  • There is a delicate art to saying “yes, and” to an idea that you’re not on board with. Don’t let it mess up your mojo.
  • Use what’s in the room – if the only suggestion you receive is one you really want to avoid (i.e something blue) how can you politely accept the offer without sacrificing the quality of the scene and your presentation?
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