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

3 comments to Why I’ve ended up where I’ve ended up

  • Hi Neil. Interesting how much more satisfying you find your workshop stuff. Would love to interview you sometime for my blog “Screw Work, Let’s Play” which is supporting my book of the same name (coming out next month).

    By the way, I suggest you enable permalinks on your WordPress settings so you get better URLs for your blog posts.

  • Louise

    Although I’ve never seen you doing your day job, I admire your work from afar. Caught you on Radio 4 before Christmas, and then used your ‘yes, and’ game successfully on my brother during the holidays when he was complaining about life in general and shutting down every possibility open to him. It’s inspired too a recent conversation with a friend about creativity – while she has the advantage of some musical ability and is sceptical therefore about using knowns to create something new, I’m generally not at all creative and like the idea of having a clear framework to build on in order to move forward. Was also very impressed by your complete lack of ‘umming’ throughout the entire Radio 4 interview! Enjoy seeing you at the Comedy Store on Sunday nights too. And really nice to see someone obviously loving what they do.

    All the best with the US book launch.

  • Neil

    Hey John, Happy to do an interview. Probably best by email or phone at this stage. And thanks for the advice. It looks very useful though I have no idea how to follow it. I will have a look out for how to enable a permalink whatever that is.

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