Improvyourbiz February 2013

I rarely do open Improvyourbiz workshops. So don’t miss the one I am doing on 27th February 2013 in London. Early bird offer if you book before 26th January. What will you be missing if you fail to attend? This
If your browser didn’t show up the links above here they are…
For more workshop details click here
For the 5-minute show reel click here

Neil Mullarkey shows nerves can be tamed

The BBC asked me to talk about doing your best at interviews. On a sunny day I gave them the Four L’s


(Hello – these are a few notes, just to jog your memory if you were there, or spark your interest if you weren’t …Neil)

Impact: Where does it reside? Why so important?

An organisation is a social process. Not a thing, not an entity at all. In scientific terms, an organisation cannot be said to exist at all. Far less be like a machine.

An organisation is a series of processes of interactive communications – that’s improv! It is constantly being created through social interactions.
Leaders are “in charge but not in control” (Phil Streatfield).
Leaders need to connect with people, be influenced by as well as influence others. They need to continually respond and update.

“The meaning of a gesture is in the response” George Herbert Mead 1934

Ten Tweaks to Help Your Personal Impact (all beginning with L – hurrah)

1. Logistics
Get there early – so you can make it your territory
Prepare: left brain (where to sit, find socket, set up laptop) & right brain (clothes, visualisation)
Networking event: have some targets in mind.

2. Learn:  Learn names in advance. ”A man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in the English language.” CARNEGIE   Learn about the other person. Become genuinely interested in them.

3. Look: Good eye contact linked to being seen as sincere and friendly.

4, Listen:
What stops us listening?
Real listening: much of our reaction to others comes from memory. A stored reaction not a fresh response. There is a difference between thinking and thoughts. Intelligence – inter and legere; “to gather between”.

5. Link:
“Talk in terms of the other man’s interest” CARNEGIE
Link now to what they said. and link back to older offers
Yes And rather than… Yes But

6. Let:
Things you disagree with: let them pass.
” The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it… Never tell a man he is wrong.” CARNEGIE
Trying to sell by telling the customer he or she is wrong to love their current product or service won’t work.
Let the other person talk about him/herself.
What is the outcome you want?
Let there be gaps: Use of pause/silence

7. Lighten:
OK to use humour
Smiling and nodding bring good reactions

8. Like
Assume you like the other person and they like you.
Find something you share: establish that you are alike.

9. Limbs
Hands: open palms tend to be persuasive
Think Status: assertive not aggressive Body Language

10. Leave well:
Good finish
Eye contact
Be the one to finish the encounter
At a networking event, pass them on to someone else
Give a promise to call and/or a business card

neilmullarkey at TEDx

This was a step into the relatively unknown for me. Talking seriously about myself and my work. I talk about my first encounters with improv, that has become a life-long love affair. I continue to perform with The Comedy Store Players but nowadays I spend most of my time teaching the skills and drills of improv to help people with their creative and communication skills. I’m finding more and more applications. The future is exciting. Here is something about my past… Neil Mullarkey at TEDx.

Christmas Fun

So Maria Franzoni liked Succeedy Song so much that she asked me to do a festive video for her. Here is the result Christmas of Love. We had fun making it. Those sprouts were fairly unpleasant. And that is real fire, rather near my face.

L. Vaughan Spencer on Biz Intelligence

Just released today – April 1st 2011. My alter ego gives his thoughts on the finer points of business analytics. You could learn a lot. Why Thinking is the Enemy of Innovation

The Secret of Comedy

I was asked by a newspaper to write about the Secret of Comedy, summed up on one word, explained in 150. Here is what I came up with. What do you think?

The Secret of Comedy … is Listening

Whatever kind of comedy you are performing – solo or ensemble – you need to listen – to your audience, to your fellow player, to your director, to the writer, and to yourself. Why yourself? Because comedy is about cadence and rhythm. You can’t drift off.

Though when writing you need to listen to your unconscious.

In front of an audience you really need to sense them. I toured with Eric Sykes ten years ago in “Charley’s Aunt”. He is partially deaf (his spectacles contain no lenses, they’re a hearing aid) yet his timing was razor-sharp.

Mostly I do Improv, in which listening is ninety percent of the skill. That surprises many who attend my “Improvyourbiz” workshops. It’s not about generating lots of stuff yourself. It’s about using what is given you by others, whether or not you expect it or “like” it.

So who is the best listener I have ever worked with? Mike Myers.

Silly Music

Ten years ago I did a show called All That Mullarkey, about how I have suffered with my silly name. Here is the overture
01 Hallelujah – Neil Mullarkey

It was recorded by a very clever person multi-tracking me and a few friends. I think it’s out of copyright so I could tell you who but it might harm his/her career as a serious musician.

New York (Brooke T Allen)

I spent six days in the Big Apple. It was chance to catch up with some chums, eat some delicious food and be part of a great show at Webster Hall on June 2nd with Stephen Frost, Andy Smart, Steve Steen and special guests Eddie Izzard and Mike Myers. I will be writing more about that soon. With pics.
In the meantime, here are some links concerning a great guy I met – Brooke Allen – whose office overlooks Manhattan from just across the river in Jersey City. I spent a couple of hours chatting with him and his assistant Adrienne about improvyourbiz. He recorded part of the conversation. You can hear it here.
And he reviewed my book too. But his spelling leaves a little to be desired.

Why I've ended up here

Last week I did my improv workshops for three different organizations. This is what I do much of the time. I love it. I had a thought today about why I feel so comfortable spreading the message.

Improv is about listening. It explicitly recognises that we have different perceptions but that we can still work together. In fact, diversity feeds the collaborative process. To misquote Jean-Paul Sartre, Life is Other People. Accepting that means there could be much more creativity and fun in the world. Every time I run a workshop I feel there might just be a little more accepting going in the world, amidst the laughter.

That makes me happy, in a way that showbusiness never really did. The thing is, the feeling seems to be mutual. By the way, I regard the Comedy Store Players as outside proper showbusiness. We are in a parallel world, quietly amusing ourselves and 800 people a week, without frightening any horses.

So I have found my thang. I wonder if it is possible for everyone, no matter how late, to find their true calling. The strange (or not so strange) thing is, that I feel I receive much more appreciation for doing something I really love. BBC Radio recently covered my work.

With a complete lack of modesty, false or otherwise, I will share feedback from those three workshops. Though I acknowledge my enormous debt to those giants upon whose shoulders I stand – the people who developed improv (most especially Viola Spolin and Keith Johnstone) and those who taught it to me. But more of that anon.

Office Club

“Neil Mullarkey delivered (yet another) simply stunning seminar, using his immense experience and knowledge of Improv and its applications in commerce to delight all present. His charm, wit and graceful delivery were infectious; every delegate was captivated, enraptured, enthused and keen to participate, and throughout the rest of our conference the techniques (and games) that Neil introduced were enthusiastically practised in every corner. It’s rare to find a combination of commercial value and fantastic entertainment, but Neil delivers both these values to an extraordinary degree. Brilliant!”

RSA (Recruitment agency for interims)

“Thank you, thank you and thank you for your brilliant presentation and control of the crowd at last week’s interim event. The feedback has been excellent and it is clear that people found your slot insightful, fun, engaging and thought-provoking. Thanks again – you were superb.”

“Neil’s presentation gave me a lot of insights into controlling my verbal communication and listening skills”
“Neil was an absolutely fantastic talker – an inspiration in fact. Such a rarity…whilst I go to a lot of events, I find I rarely enjoy them as much as I did this one.”

“Thank you so very, very much for last night. You were fantastic and have really given our guests a few things to think about! One person has made a note on their feedback form to mark your slot as a ‘6 out of 5’!”

London Business Forum
“The session was a real eye opener for me and has got me thinking about what I do in a more structured way – thank you! I will certainly tell friends about the next one in September.”
“I really enjoyed it so wanted to say thank you. Much more enjoyable than many communications courses I have been on and still very relevant and applicable.”

The next one is on Sept 23