As I continue to read Everything’s An Offer by Rob Poynton, light bulbs keep going off for me. I’m quite new to Improvisation – although, like all of us we improvise all of the time without knowing it.
In the 90’s I used to watch a street act known as The 3 Canadians and I would marvel at their genius. These 3 guys could work a crowd of a dozen and incite a movement of hundreds who felt like they were participating in the performance. I always wondered how these 3 comedians created ‘so much’ from ‘so little’. Few props, no set, just boundless energy and an ability to celebrate when things went wrong. Thanks to mentors like Viv McWaters and authors like Rob Poynton … I am beginning to understand.
An ‘Offer’ is anything and everything you can take and use to further the story. “Seeing a world full of offers feels very different from seeing a world full of problems.” (Rob Poynton. EaO page 56.)
In world where we constantly hear our business leaders, educators and politicians say the words ‘innovation’ and ‘creativity’, do we (or they) really understand what these things looks like? After years of helping clients to do strategic and business plans and look at teamwork and leadership, I can clearly see that the art of ‘improvisation’ has been missing in all of this. The understanding that no matter how well we plan, engineer and try to control, stuff happens that we cannot see ahead of time … in other words, the ones who can improvise have a much better chance of succeeding.
Being aware of and using the limitless ‘offers’ around us is one way of improvising. There’s free stuff everywhere you look … so start using it and improvise!
A Story about Offers
One of my favourite movies is the Usual Suspects. Why? The final scene left me breathless … I’ll quote Rob in his book to explain the scene …
“… the protagonist (Roger “Verbal” Kint, a.k.a Keyser Soze), played by Kevin Spacey, is interrogated. He tells a story so extraordinary and complex that his interrogators are convinced he couldn’t possibly have made it us. They conclude he is innocent and let him go. As they are preparing to do so, a panned shot around the room shows us all of the offers he was using to make up this incredibly intricate story. Photographs, business cards, posters and all the little details in the room where he was being questioned were the offers he used to spin a yarn to get himself out of trouble.” Here’s the next scene when his interrogator realises where the Keyser’s story came from …
It’s brilliant, yet so simple. “This is what seeing everything as an offer can do for you” Rob (again!).
So next time you get stuck for ideas, whatever you are doing or wherever you are, tune into the many offers around you and use them. Let go. notice more, use everything.