In the improv elevator of your life, I’ve been shafted

The man in black was talking about getting dumped but that’s sort of what class felt like, observationally of course.  Early in the semester we talked about relying on positive responses and how that related to being a good audience.  If there are reluctant audiences or negative responding improv “participants” then the back and forth of communication breaks down.  Our exercise was to get into a simulated elevator and through our interactions figure out how to work in our own research.  Many groups had some awkward and humorous interactions in the process.  The best were the ones where people just ran with it.  One thing led to another and they all played well with others.  The objective was tough and almost selfish.  You could see those who were typically more outgoing succeeding because they led, while more introverted people played along.  That was all well and good until my elevator door opened…

I stepped from my floor into a cat fight.  You thought a negative response was bad?  Try that repeated with accompanying body language.  I wanted to disarm it a little bit.  Selfishly I charged in and provoked a round of high fives, a good excuse to individually get a positive response from everyone there.  Then we opened things up a little.  The conflict remained though.  It sort of cut everything short and was difficult to manage.  Instead of engaging the conflict directly I worked with the other, more receptive folks.  Much like I would if I were dealing with a less receptive audience member.  It’s not that everyone in the elevator was negative, just a few.  So the participating audience was not lost.  It got interesting.  There was no big risk for me so I think I was able to react reasonably well.  I don’t how I would do in a more high risk situation like a conference symposium.  Maybe I’ll have a flash back and pull it off.  Once we got the elevator fixed we all breathed a sigh of relief and parted ways, some more positively than others.

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