Last night I enjoyed a get together with the wonderful community of Bay Area Improvisers that feels like home to me, and in conversation with one good friend I asked:
What is the one most important thing Improv has taught you?
Her answer was short and sweet: It taught her to push and to yield.
Pushing and yielding may also be defined as give and take, dominance and submission, saying yes or saying no…etc.
Improv taught her, and teaches many people what it means to push and yield, what your own tendency is, and how and when to play either role.
But I’ll give you a secret – knowing when to push or to yield isn’t really about you. It’s about the other person. If you put all your attention and focus on the other person in your meeting, presentation, conversation, or improv scene – well, then you’ll pick up on how much to push or to yield.
It’s important to know how to play each role, and to have the confidence and self-awareness to do either. But the other person (your partner) will give you the clues and signs you need along the communication highway.