The 14 Rules To Becoming A Master At Improvisation In Business

Master at Improvisation

Table of Contents

Reading Time: 11 minutes


Morning all –

Later start today:

Sun 31 Jan

But I recorded two videos for my Youtube channel as well as launched 2 new ads for Facebook (that was actually what I recorded).

I improvised my morning (to a degree).

Since I started this ‘morning routine journey’ Jan 1st, the routine is broadly always changing within more or less the same framework.

I.e I aim to write a blog post, record some videos and write something on Quora.

The constants seem to be the blog and the videos – which is great because they’re the primary channels I’d like to grow anyway.

However, the order often changes – and it got me thinking about improvisation – it’s importance to business – and the rules around it.

So I wanted to give you some of my thoughts and insights around improvisation and improvisation rules and what ends up happening.

Why Is Improvisation Important?

Why improvisation imp

I think business owners are constantly improvising.

The evidence demonstrates that.

No two days are exactly the same and there are constantly new challenges.

To that degree, I guess you could argue that anyone in any position of responsibility or independence IS improvising – which is probably true.

Which is actually why it’s so damn important.

I’ll give you an example of something that happened on Friday that demonstrates why improvisation rules are so important.

My HR and General Manager Noemi and Federica did a round-robin for what people wished to learn on the Friday training session and the subject for the day was supposed to be project and team management.

They asked me to prepare accordingly (which I did not LOL).

Anyway, upon getting onto the call with all 14 of us – I quickly asked –

‘Who voted for project/team management? I know you did Lydia? – Who else?’

Lydia quickly responded saying ‘I just put that because of ‘something something’.

I don’t remember WHAT she said but I definitely remember the tone being one of non-commitment – basically retracting that as being something she cared about.

I then had to make a fast decision.

What could I teach all 14 people on the call – some who had been with us for a year, some who’d been with us for a week – to a degree that EVERYONE would gain something from it?

That meant the ‘plan’ didn’t really apply, and I had to consider what I could discuss and share with the group that they would actually find valuable.

I ultimately went around in my head possible ‘things to discuss’ that I was comfortable and competent with – and gave them 4 options – from which I asked them to pick two.




In the end, the sessions turned out to be ok.

But I was actually saved by improvisation more than anything else.

Isn’t Improv For Acting?

Improv for acting

Btw – and I’m sure you already know – but ‘improv’ is short for ‘improvisation’ and it probably does have it’s roots – or at least is most heavily grounded in theatre.

So yes it probably is centred around theatre and acting – but it has such powerful implications for business that I wanted to discuss this with you.

Much of my ‘improv’ manifest through the content I put together each morning – and the reason I’m likely able to put together content so quickly is because I’ve had years of experience through being a rapper.

Recording 150+ songs and being a battle rapper (not that I improvised then lol – it was all pre-written) for a super short time – has helped A LOT with improvisation and public performance.

Part of this was also being about socially adaptable depending upon the people I was around.

So it’s a positively fulfilling loop in many respects – the more you put yourself into uncomfortable situations – the more comfortable you become in general because your body of experience just keeps getting better and growing.

Applications In Business

Business Applications

So how does this apply to business specifically then?

(Although it also applies to my life in general which I’ll come to)

Improvisation is a mixture of new ideation in combination with historical experience to produce something that’s iteratively new rather than revolutionary.

Or to be simpler – it’s adding a little bit of new to stuff you already know – to lead to lots of progress.

And so the continual practice of it will give you a massive competitive advantage over others.

Here’s an example:

  • For myself, deciding to ‘blog’ every day is nothing new.
  • Deciding to wake up at 430am is unusual but not new
  • Deciding to blog every morning is nothing new
  • Deciding what I’ll be writing about, around 15 minutes before I write is nothing new.

But yet…you put it all together, and add consistency to it – then you do have something that’s relatively novel.

And then you add a further element to it – of being open to new experiments (such as writing a blog about improvisation – I’m curious who’ll actually read and take enjoyment from this – and what the profile of that person is) – you can start to create massively new things from consistent, marginal changes.

Improvisation is what is partially leading this blog post alongside that 15-minute block which also allowed me to at a high level – see what others are writing about this subject.

I don’t completely know what the next sentence will be before I write it.

And that’s what in fact drives my progress (and probably my lack of readership lol)

But improv is part of all sales communication, deciding the direction in which to take a new initiative, and forms the basis for hundreds of micro-decisions you make every day.

For these reasons, I feel there’s A LOT that businesses can take from the theatrical world of improvisation and apply it to our work.

So – let’s get into the tactical side of this post with strategies and tactics you can deploy instantly to start blending this into your life and life’s work:

Some Rules For Successful Improvisation

Improvisation rules

Say “Yes, And!”

This is ultimately about the art of saying ‘yes’ to things – in accordance with whatever you are asked.

You probably have heard of this principle in other aspects of your life or popular culture.

But it also has huge applications in business.

What if, for a week, maybe two – you practiced saying ‘yes’ to opportunities that were put in front of you.

‘Deepak would you like to speak at this webinar?’

‘Deepak would you like to be a guest on?’

‘Deepak why don’t you come to this event about….’

Etc etc

It’s from conversations and situations like this that masses of new opportunity can arise. And of course…it forces huge improvisation – as it can be often an ask right there on the spot.

A business owner’s time is no doubt valuable – but by saying ‘yes, and’ you allow for serendipity or ‘lady luck’ to enter your life.

Don’t Block

This in a way is the inverse of ‘Say yes, and’ – because blocking is about the rejection of suggestions.

Things aren’t going to move forward in your business (or your personal life) if you block ideas, or anyone’s attempt to progress things with you.

Looking it up from improv comedy blogs – it reads that it can cause scenes to stagnate – and it also has implications for your business and life as well.

If you’re the person always ‘blocking’ or saying ‘no’, or making excuses – very quickly any opportunities to say ‘no’ will disappear anyway.

People (and correspondingly opportunities) give up on you

Add New Information

Whenever you’re shown a new concept, or even an old one – at every turn you have the opportunity to blend or add some new information or new twist upon it.

It’s taking a pre-existing idea and adding your slight variation to build something (hopefully) better.

This might be as simple as:

  • Tweaking an interest on a Facebook Ad
  • Adding an unusual keyword like ‘improve audition tips’ to your collection to see what happens
  • Deciding to record YouTube content anytime you’re attempting to do something new (like right now:


I’ve decided to record myself as I blog – because well – why not?

I’m always curious to read a blog, and then to wonder how a person has put that blog together.

I’m now thinking that this is something I could have a series on.

F*ck it – I’ll record 10 of these videos as an experiment and see what happens – they might bomb totally – or they MIGHT do really well.

It feels a little bit ‘meta’ to be writing about my plan for recording, WHILST I’m recording lol.


But hopefully you see my point – about adding something as simple as ‘recording the writing of my blog content’ to something as simple as WRITING my blog content…to create something that I THINK is quite novel –

A recording of me writing my own content 😛

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Avoid Asking Questions – Unless You’re Also Adding Information

I looked this one up from improvisation comedy and enjoy it’s implications for business because there’s a specific way to ask questions that can enrich an experience – or just shut it down


‘So what we need to do to get to the supermarket on time is leave at 3.15pm to catch the 3.18pm bus’

‘We could potentially get an Uber with 4 of us as it’ll be cheaper and quicker than spending £2 each on the bus?’

Shutting It Down:

‘So what we need to do to get to the supermarket on time is leave at 3.15pm to catch the 3.18pm bus’

‘Isn’t that quite late?’

Shutting It Down Example 2:

‘So what we need to do to get to the supermarket on time is leave at 3.15pm to catch the 3.18pm bus’

‘What if the bus comes early?’


Arguably – you could say that they are all good questions – but the framing and value that 1 adds is significantly better than 2 or 3 so if you’re going to be in the business of asking questions in a public environment –

Ask questions that enriches everyone’s perception of you rather than making yourself seem like a worrier.

Make Statements

This is powerful for public environments and sales conversations.

It’s really about the importance of giving your opinion there and then on the spot.

It’s one of the fundamentals of job interviews when they put you into groups right?

You’re judged upon your ability to contribute towards a common objective – and that is measured through your actions – which almost always begin with statements.

So have something to say, and when you say it – say it well with a clear opinion/outcome attached to it.

Better to do this than remain silent and be forgotten.

This will of course lead to you making some balls ups as well as you being ballsy – but it’s the fastest way to become a powerful improve expert

Remove Mental Blockers

There are so many ways to talk yourself out of things.

A good example is a reality that I’m recording myself just writing this blog and not doing anything else.

There are many reasons why that’s a silly idea.

  • Is it REALLY adding any value?
  • How do you actually rank this piece of content (what’s the keyword?)

But also, the risk Versus reward is in my favour also – because I’ll be ultimately writing this blog anyway – so heck – why not?

So whenever you have mental blockers you must try and overcome it – because it’ll only inhibit your improvisation and limit your ability to try new things.

Disrupt Negative Or Limiting Thoughts Through Distraction

Much like (young) children or pets can be distracted from something that’s not that ‘fun’ to do by introduction a distraction – you can also do the same with yourself

If you’re in an interview and haven’t prepared or HAVE prepared but have no idea what to say – then you can think about something totally different until the moment is upon you..

And then just deal with it.

I think they call it distraction therapy – and it’s a very effective way to KEEP improvising ultimately

Change, Change, Change!

Btw if you’re wondering where I’m getting these headings from – I’m stealing them from improv audition tips and other types of searches on Google and then adapting them for business and life.

This is something that is a bedrock of any successful business I believe today, as well as a relationship.

Continually and constantly mixing strategies, ideas, processes and all up to prevent inertia, boredom and the like – are important for consistent progress.

Change (mostly micro, sometimes macro) needs to be a constant to drive continued results.

If you always do the same thing on date night, or your weekly training, or your presentations – it soon becomes stale and uninteresting.

So, make change a constant.

Focus On The Here And Now

This one is really big for me as I’ve just finished reading a summary of ‘The Power Of Now’ – and it feels like this point is taken from THAT playbook.

Too many of us (including myself) get caught up in worrying about what is past or what may come.

And we lose the power of this moment. THIS very moment where I’m writing and putting together what I hope will be a massively useful blog post about improvisation rules and its tips as well as its power within your life.

So being acutely present at the moment is a powerful way to drive any narrative forward.

This can come from mindfulness to start.

Focussing upon your breathing, upon your body, upon your senses and then using this quietening of the monkey mind to focus on what you’re literally doing right now.

For me, I use ‘white noise when I write – I’m listening to it now:


It’s the only time that I use white noise.

And it is now really powerful in helping me focus on the here and now.


This is to avoid doing something. You ultimately build bridges where there are no need for them. And extend relationships where there’s no need to extend them.

What’s interesting with this – is that I’m realising there are a couple of relationships I actually need to let go of but I’ve ‘ummed and awed’ and created new work for myself by keeping some people on that I really shouldn’t.


This is something that’s extremely annoying.

Being vague.

Being unclear as to what is actually going on and therefore inhibiting progress.

This is often born from fear of failure or rejection and can inhibit your ability to powerfully take improvised action.

Listen, Watch And Concentrate

This is an improvisation rule that’s probably as much about life as it is improvisation in business. Developing your listening skills, and scene and body language reading skills – will forever enhance your ability to actually get the most from a situation.

This is all about your focus and ability to concentrate on what’s actually happening at that moment and not outside of it.

Practice this a lot and you’ll be able to get more and contribute more to any situation.

Make Assumptions

Now the reason this one is important is that in spite of the adage around ‘never making assumptions’’ – when it comes to progressing something – it’s BETTER to make assumptions that the people involved with the improv – will ‘figure it out’.

So it’s about making positive assumptions more than anything else.

Assume that your team will be able to support the initiative of getting ‘X started’ or adjusting to ‘Y’.

I often do this on new client calls actually – when we’re asked about whether we can do something and I’ll say ‘yes sure we can do that’ – then figure it out later

Make the people around you look good

I love this one. It’s about ultimately ensuring those around you are made to shine under the spotlight when driving anything forward.

Another good example of this is how my Head of New Business introduced our head of Lead Generation – Prishani to new clients.

He doesn’t know much about her but did his best instantly to make her look good.

This is quite a commonplace feature of what master networkers do in fact – work to make those they introduce and those they speak of always look good.

This comes back to us all ten-fold

Final Thoughts



There are 14 rules taken from the world of theatre and comedy that I hope as you can see have specific applications for our lives and business.

I myself have learnt a lot looking at what exists online and then seeing how it’s actually applied to business on a regular basis.

I wanted to talk about this with you today because it’s a central part of my decision making.

I’ll have an idea or often am given one and then try and build the narrowest line between that idea and implementation to see what result it will give me.

So – good luck in your journey of practicing improvisation – I’m looking forward to hearing you get on 🙂