Chapter 3Building Off of Other People's Ideas

So you are listening. You're making strong eye contact, and you are playing back the words that are being spoken in your head. You are nodding positively to outwardly show that you are engaged and interested in everything that is being said to you. Swell.

The upside to this skill is that maybe you are gaining and retaining a better understanding of what you are hearing. The downside is that now people think you are a great listener or “sounding board” and your newfound empathy has people wanting to bare their souls to you. Sorry about that.

Whether you want to become a more sympathetic confidant or just someone who wants to do more/try more/be more, so much of it starts with listening and building off of other peoples' ideas. What does “building off of other peoples ideas” mean, exactly? Does it mean stealing other people's ideas? Does it mean not being original? Does it mean subjugating your own creativity and individualism to constantly support other people's efforts?

Hells no! What it means is that you are learning to find inspiration from other things outside your own brain. Other peoples' ideas are the fundamental building blocks of improv, as a skill and art form.

As we have already discussed, the ability to listen actively and try to as best as possible understand what is being said is the first step in being able to improvise on stage. Yet if the only thing we do is listen, then we become a sponge, absorbing information but ...

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