What’s the drill – February 22: Know your objective

‎”Whenever someone comes to me for help, I listen very hard and ask myself, ‘What does this person really want? And what will they do to keep from getting it?” – William Perry, Harvard Professor of Education

Navigating life without a script means finding the balance between freedom and structure. For Improvisers, it means getting clear on the basics of the scene, feeling grounded in the structure so that we can move and build new ideas with complete freedom.

A trick we use to keep us centered, motivated, and able to navigate ambiguity is to know our objective in the scene. What is it that my character wants, and why?

Once we get clear on these answers, a scene can really flow.

But, how often do we go into a scene, a meeting, a phone call, a class, an opportunity and truly know what our objective is?

Getting clear on our objective does more than just help you – it helps your partner in crime. If I don’t know what it is you want, how can I support you?

For me, the most memorable Improv scenes to watch and to play in are those where characters have a clear objective that comes from a very truthful, sometimes vulnerable place. For example, they don’t just want to win the science fair, but they want someone to tell them how great they are… for the very first time.

Having a clear objective is a way to measure change. Did we get what we wanted? Did it mean something to us? What’s my temperature reading before and after? How am I progressing?

When I’m coaching Improvisers or those in a professional development setting, it’s common for people to either not have an objective or to not verbalize it.

We can’t always think of the objective spontaneously, but we can tune into the character, or ourselves to think about what is it that I really want? Sometimes it takes some work, and some encouragement:

  1. Know the “why”, not only the “what” – figure out why your objective matters to you. Sometimes asking “The Five Why’s” can help with this. 
  2. Be open to your objective changing. Don’t hold so fast to it that you close yourself off.
  3. Finally – don’t be afraid to ask for help.

 

 

 

What’s the drill – July 5: Three questions to help you know your audience

What’s in it for them?

Are you asking this question enough…and is this the first thing you lead with at the start of a program or a pitch?

To successfully market and reach your participants, and those who decide whether or not to give the go-ahead to your program, we have to not only say, but show what’s in it for them… all the while using their language to get the message across.

What does success look like for them?

How you market a program to an engineer will be different from a sales executive.  It can be a different language altogether. There will be biases and assumptions and expectations you can’t always control.  To help break through, seek out what success looks like for them, while being as specific as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What is their objective?

Everyone has an objective. Is it just compliance – or something deeper? Let’s hope for the latter. Here, Seth Godin provides helpful reminders on learning the worldviews of your participants. Are they batman types or superman types?

It’s nearly impossible to sell an idea or a concept to everyone at the same time. Adjust your story and approach to fit your audience, speak their language and always focus on what’s in it for them.

But, says Godin… “Instead of trying to delight everyone in Gotham City, it pays to find people who already resonate with the story you want to tell”. Yes, AND to that!