This post about meetings is dedicated to Keegan Lenker. I’m sorry that my ninja skills met your face that one day when we were playing a youth group game in Africa. Thanks for laughing it off and for laughing at me a few days later when I was unknowingly gobbling down rat soup. Friends for life.

5 Things Our Meetings (Lives, Youth Ministries, Families, Parenting, Friendships) Could Learn From Improv

If you’ve run past me on the jogging trail recently and have seen me hunched over unable to breathe–relax, no need to resuscitate. Even though I have been known to trip and fly superman style into a road rashed heap on the ground. I promise, the gasping for air most recently has been caused by an almost harmless case of mid-adult onset laughter.

The condition is mainly brought on by listening to the auto biography of Tina Fey on audible during my workout. Maybe not the best choice when coordination is necessary. But a fun challenge to try to run and laugh cry at the same time.

Just thinking about the fact that nearly an entire chapter is devoted to her early years working at the YMCA makes me smile. My husband and I also used to work there, folding towels and checking people in during the early years of our marriage. We also currently live there with our children for hours in the evenings for sanity breaks.

Good call on the YMCA chapter Tina Fey. Good call.

I’ve also been simultaneously reading the autobiography of Amy Poehler during my wait times in airport security. Since I’m only drinking water this year, my wait times at Starbucks have vanished killing typical reading opportunities. I can’t wait to finish her book. I just need to pick up a headlamp at Wal-Mart first.

I like funny self-deprecating auto biographies. The endorphins have been great. And I’m reminded how awesome it is to not take oneself too seriously. The bonus: I’m learning some big ideas that have been really helpful in the area of leadership.

For example, I wondered how much meetings (and our lives in general) could change if we applied the rules of improv to them.

I think I’m going to give it a shot.

Improv Meeting Rules (Adapted from the rules of improv, according to my pal bossypants Tina)

1) Agree. Always agree and say yes.

  • You’ll always disagree about things. It’s ok to disagree and to point to truth. But if you’re brainstorming and trying to find the best ideas and if you’re following the rules of improv (because why not?) you’d be required to agree with what your partner or team is creating. So when someone throws something out there, say “yes” and see where that takes you.
  • Sometimes I feel like meetings could use a good dose of agreement. Not group think. But “yes’s” that allow scenarios to be fleshed out. Sometimes the best ideas are total accidents.

2) Say yes. Then add something.

  • Don’t be afraid to contribute.
  • Always make sure you are adding something to the discussion.
  • “You’re initiations are always worthwhile.” – Tina Fey

3) Make statements.

  • Don’t ask questions all of the time. Asking questions are great–at the right times. But meetings are a great place to be a part of the solutions.
  • One pastor I heard speak this summer said, “don’t be a rainbow puking unicorn” in meetings. Don’t agree with everything you hear. Contribute. Add something.
  • Speak in statements not in apologies. (Unless of course you really were a curmudgeon or an idiot. Apologies are always good then.

4) Believe that there are no mistakes, only opportunities.

  • If you’re in a meeting or on a team that you trust, that values you, who you value you, then there really isn’t any reason to fear making mistakes. Go for it. Say it. Dream it.

In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents.” – Tina Fey

“In meetings there are no mistakes, only beautiful potentially life changing discoveries. Happy accidents are hopefully around the corner too.

What do you hope for in a meeting? Have you ever tried to change the rules?






Palm Trees - Brooklyn Lindsey - Lakeland, FL - Speaking

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