Sunday, 30 December 2018

Yes,lets!..Unmask

Friends,

Yes,Lets!  is a series of Applied improv exercises which we have used in various workshops. The invitation to the readers here is to connect with us if they want to know in detail how these exercises where done and debriefed. This series is a way to say thank you to all our participants who helped us grow as Creative facilitator and a way to welcome new learners who want to know and explore the field of applied improv.

So the first one in this series is ;

Yes,lets!..Unmask

How many of us are aware that we wear masks of the roles  (husband, wife, father, son, daughter) or at workplace the designation or the job we do? Are we aware that the mask becomes a part of us and we miss seeing our real selves?

Yes,lets!…For once remove the masks of the roles we play and be ourselves ,discover the power within

It’s very interesting to see when we ask the participants to draw “Who you are”. For a few minutes they look perplexed as for this is one question that has never crossed their minds to think and reflect on. Who are we really?

Slowly gathering their thoughts then they start sketching (mind you, they have only 5 mins do this exercise). There are few participants even at the end of the exercise present a blank paper. It gets too overwhelming for them to think about something which they didn’t think even mattered.

Over the years we have seen people representing themselves as sun, water (very common), birds (that too), stick figures. It gets interesting to see when people draw the roles they play in the organisation as who they are. They sit back and reflect when they hear other people talk and realise that we are more human than the jobs and designations then the real unmasking takes place.

It was a moment of reflection for me when one my senior participant drew garbage and explained how as a HR professional he felt in that organisation. It took courage for him to speak about it in front of his peers who then realised how they were treating that department. It was amazing to see how one person’s sketch can actually surface an organisation’s unseen culture.

Another interesting incident I recall was when we were having a meeting with the decision makers and make them understand what is actually applied improv. The CEO was also present in that meeting. I posed the same question draw “Who are you”? It was very interesting to see and hear what the CEO had sketched. He  had drawn a laptop (surprising isn’t it! wait for his explanation) He said” I read mails the whole day and reply to them, so I am more like a data operator guy”. A CEO of a large Indian MNC calling himself a data operator, what’s interesting here is when he takes decisions which role does he operate from? (The designation given to him or the role he thinks he plays)

A simple exercise yet so powerful. An exercise that makes people aware from which lenses they see themselves which has a very important impact when decisions (for self and others) are taken, how conflict’s, stress and change is handled by them.

The above exercise was done with a group of health professionals who had an interesting reflection after this exercise. They mostly had drawn things that represented helping and caring about others, in the profession they are in which is of at most importance. But in that they had forgotten to take care and help themselves which is the reason why they felt stressed and we were called in to work with them.

Yes, applied improv does this. It gives the person the freedom to explore, take risks. It creates a space of trust and creates empathy .

Yes, let’s take a pen and sketch “Who are you” you will be amazed to see what comes on that paper.
Happy Improvising!

Cheers,
Shyam