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Home » Going beyond “Hello”: Dan Klein at TEDxStanford (Full Transcript)

Going beyond “Hello”: Dan Klein at TEDxStanford (Full Transcript)


You are all improvisors but none of you woke up this morning and found someone sitting there waiting to hand you your script for the day; you’re making it up as you go. But if you’re like everyone else, you probably take great pains to make sure that nobody can tell you’re making it up. You plan ahead, you rehearse, you worry about the future, you dwell on the past. You shoot down people’s new ideas. You even censor your own ideas, sometimes before you even realize they’re there.

So in the next five minutes, I’m going to give you a crash course in how to recover, how to reclaim that improviser spirit, that best part of yourself, where you can be creative, where you are exposed and open to good fortune and where you tap into that raw, animal magnetism that comes from being alive and in the moment. Now for those of you here in the audience, we’re going to do a couple of exercises sitting right in your chairs, no pressure. You won’t have to get up and perform. For those of you who are watching on the live webcast, you’re probably my parents in Santa Barbara. Hi guys! And for those of you who are watching my hologram at Coachella 2099… Check this out — Laser fingers. So… That is going-to-will-have been awesome.

All right. There’s one central, core tenet of the improvisational mindset and that is: Accept all offers. Keith Johnstone is the author who wrote –and I’m paraphrasing him– “People who accept offers are rewarded by the adventures they go on. And people who reject or block offers are rewarded by the safety they attain.” I’m going to give you three ways that you can accept offers and go on some adventures.

The first one, it’s the easiest to start with; it’s what we always start with in the classroom or on stage when we practice, and that is, accepting your partner’s offers. So, here’s the idea: Whatever your partner says or does, you say ‘Yes,’ and you add to it. Now, you’re going to need a partner. Right now, find the person next to you and I want you to lean in to them conspiratorially. If you have a partner and it looks like there’s someone right near you who doesn’t have a partner, invite them to join your pair so you’re either in a pair or in a triad. Everyone has a partner.

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