The Improv Is No Joke Podcast

Welcome to the Improv Is No Joke podcast hosted by Peter Margaritis, AKA The Accidental Accountant and author of the book 'Improv Is No Joke, Using Improvization to Create Positive Results in Leadership and Life'. This podcast series is also available on iTunes, Google Play and Stitcher.

Ep. 96 – Bob Pacanovsky | Develop a Black Tie Mindset & Discover the Power of Hospitality

Bob Pacanovsky is what you might call a “Wow!” expert – with 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, primarily in the hospitality space, he has learned how create engagement, retention, and loyalty with customers, employees, and clients. Bob took that expertise and founded The Black Tie Experience, which helps companies and leaders create that Black Tie Experience for their customers and employees.

The black tie is much more than a uniform – it’s a mindset. You don’t actually have to have a black tie on to deliver a Black Tie Mindset, you just have to create an impression that LASTS:

  • Look
  • Act
  • Speak
  • Tact (or how you behave)
  • Serve

We tend to rush to the service part because we want to create an unbelieve customer or employee experience, but “we have to know how to look the part and act the part before we can actually serve the part.”

One of the most important things to keep in mind – and this can be difficult – when working with other people, whether they’re your customers or employees, is that it’s not about you as a host or leader, it’s about them.

“If you have a mindset of making people feel differently about your product, your service, and themselves than they ever have before, then you’re really living the Black Tie Mindset.”

The 4 Principles to Create a Black Tie Experience:

  1. A Culture of Welcome – Create a welcoming culture (not only for your employees, but also for your customers or guests). What is the culture, or the atmosphere, like in your company?
  2. The Way of Doings Things – What is your company’s way of doings things? Disney, Apple, and Starbucks all have their own unique way of doings things, and it affects how you experience their brands. However, most companies aren’t spending enough time training their employees to wow people.
  3. Impact Points – These are the subconscious impressions that people make about your business before, during, or after they purchase something. For example, what impression does your website make, or what does your restroom look like?
  4. Put Yourself in your Customer’s Shoes – What does your customer see, hear, touch, or smell when they come into your business, or interact with you online?

You’ve probably heard me say in the past that we’re all in the people business, even if we’re accountants – Bob takes it a step farther, arguing that we’re all in the hospitality business… and it makes a lot of sense!

The definition of hospitality is, “The art of making that personal connection with someone,” and based on that definition, aren’t we all in the hospitality business, first and foremost?

So yes, we are in the people business, and we do need to focus on customer and employee experiences and retention, but we can’t excel at those things if we forget about the power of hospitality.




Improv Is No Joke is produced by Podcast Masters

Ep. 95 – Kristen Rampe | Another CPA Who’s All Things Improv Shares a New Training Tool for Speaking Success

Kristen Rampe,  Founder of Kristen Rampe Consulting, returns to the show to discuss how CPE educators can get the best out of their presenters and subject matter experts and a new training tool for those who want to build confidence when speaking in front of a crowd: PowerPoint Improv!


If you want to get better at speaking, this episode is for you.


Kristen conducted an excellent breakout session during the 2018 CPE Educators Conference, in which a group of us discussed how we can get more engagement from our audiences.


One of the things she talked about was giving the different personas in the room what they need – but what does it really mean to know your audience?


You need an understanding of…


  • Who’s in the room
  • What their background is
  • Why they’re there
  • What they want to learn


If you don’t know who they are and what they want, it’s going to be a lot harder to provide value or engage them. Remember: in any speaking engagement, it’s not about you, it’s about the audience.


PowerPoint Improv

Kristen recently discovered this new kind of improv, which she’s calling Slide Deck Improv, and I’m fascinated by the concept. It sounds like excellent training for any professional speakers, or just anyone who wants more confidence in front of crowds. Plus, it sounds like fun!


The premise is simple:


  1. After some basic improv education and warm ups, participants get on a stage with a slide deck that they’ve never seen before.
  2. In proper improv fashion, they get a topic from the audience.
  3. The participant gives a presentation on that topic!


Kristen says most people go into this a little bit nervous, naturally, but then they realize just how much they can do, how much they know, and how many stories they can tell.

Check out to learn more, and to see a video of Slide Deck Improv in action.





Improv Is No Joke is produced by
Podcast Masters

Ep. 94 – Chris Loehrer: Creativity, Collaboration, & Innovation in Traditional Business Environments

Chris Loehrer is a right-brain person living in a left-brain world, meaning he is extremely creative, has a BFA in animation and film, but currently operates in a leadership role within The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA)… not exactly what you might expect from a creative type.

In this episode, Chris offers a unique perspective on the topic of leadership and shares the challenges he faces with getting some of his ideas across and accepted in a numbers-driven, linear thinking business environment.

Chris is the Studio Operations Manager at OSBA. He was hired to create innovative products and services for membership across all departments, as well as communication plans that tell the story of membership benefits and the value of membership.

However, the bulk of his work in recent months has been implementing new and innovative delivery methods for getting those products to members. In the process, he works with many different teams.

When working with different teams, Chris takes a “Minnesota nice” approach. He believes that we don’t have to be anything but friendly in our teams; it won’t serve you to act upon knee-jerk emotional responses, or for leaders to approach the team with a “this is the way it is” attitude.

A team doesn’t operate effectively, in the long run, that way.

The best teams are full of learners, Chris says, especially creative learners – people who can see beyond an obstacle and find previously unseen avenues for success are critical.

And while lawyers and accountants may not immediately consider themselves creative right now, Chris says, “People don’t consider themselves creative until they are given the opportunity to be creative.”

Like in improv, there are no wrong answers when trying to collaborative solve a problem; bad ideas are just bridges to good ideas. So fostering an environment where new ideas are not only accepted but encouraged creates more opportunities to solve problems.

“I’ve learned through fantastic leaders that active listening and thoughtful acceptance of what you’re hearing from other team members is a big deal, and you don’t have to be the person in the room who has the answer all the time.”




Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 93 – Ted Janusz: What You Need to Know About Online Marketing & Social Media in 2018

Ted Janusz is a speaker and marketing guru, and he’s here to help you get the most out of your online presence. We discuss how you can set your organization apart from the competition, how to get your clients and prospects spending more time on your website, and what you can do to raise your level of authority to be perceived as an expert in your field.

Marketing isn’t the same as it was even just 10 years ago – or, at least, your marketing shouldn’t look the same as it did 10 years ago.

For starters, everyone has to have a website. “It’s like the modern business card.”

However, just having a website isn’t enough. You also need the right website.

  • There are two big marketing trends that emerged in 2017: influencer marketing & video.
  • 79% of people who come to your website scan it, rather than read it – so you need to prioritize visual information, especially videos. Your site needs to grab someone in just a few seconds. Otherwise, they’ll move on.
  • The people visiting your site only care about one thing: What can you do for me, or how are you able to help me? Dan Kennedy says that the #1 marketing mistake that most small businesses make is not using testimonials. So get some testimonials, and cut back on those bios!
  • When trying to market yourself through video, consider video testimonials, showing members of your staff as real people, and creating how-to videos. Whatever you do, present it from the client’s perspective – not your own.
  • Consider why most firms lose customers: 1% die, 3% move away, 5% switch to another firm based on advice from friends or family, 9% switch to another firm based on advice from a competitor, 14% get angry and leave, and then the vast majority leave because they feel ignored or unappreciated. Pay attention to the customers that you already have, and make them feel valued! Satisfied customers are your most effective, and cheapest form of marketing.

In Made to Stick, Chip & Dan Heath lay out the six common factors of “sticky” marketing campaigns or the six principles of S.U.C.C.E.S.

  1. Simple
  2. Unexpected
  3. Concrete
  4. Credible
  5. Emotional
  6. Stories

Something else to consider as you’re planning your marketing over the next few years: Millennials and Gen Z are getting older, and soon they will be the majority of your clients (if they aren’t already). They are at home online, and spend a lot of time online, so that’s where you will need to be if you want to attract a new generation of clients.




Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters

Ep. 92 – Mary Foley: Don a Red Cape, Be Bodacious, & Take Charge of Your Life

Mary Foley energizes female entrepreneurs with the clarity, confidence, and tools to attract, engage, and win more clients. She is an author, energizing keynote speaker, business mentor, host of the P.O.W.E.R. Plug Podcast, and a lover of red capes.


On today’s episode, we discuss her book Bodacious! Woman: Outrageously in Charge of Your Life and Lovin’ It! Her sense of humor and positivity comes through on every page of – as it does every minute of this podcast!


This book isn’t just for women, either. Her stories encapsulate the principles of improvisation and the philosophy of Yes, And (which is especially evident when she shares the story of showing up to work without a pair of pants).


If you look at Mary Foley’s website, you’ll see that being “bodacious” is more than something she uses to brand her content – it’s a personal rallying cry.


“I realize that if I want to create the career I want, let alone the life I want, I need to get more bold and more guts – and that’s why the word ‘Bodacious’ became a personal rallying cry.”


When you read the book, or hear Mary describe her journey towards bodaciousness, you’ll see that she is willing to do something that is very scary for a lot of people: take risks.


And if you are, like many of us, wary of taking a risk because you don’t know what’s going to happen, because you might fail, Mary has two words for you – So what?


If you try and something doesn’t work out, so what? You might be working off of a bad definition for failure, anyway. Mary’s definition of failure is “simply not trying,” and making that internal mindset shift can dramatically change your relationship with risk.


“Your ability to take risks more easily and often, bounce back, and have a ‘Yes, And’ perspective isn’t just a nice thing – it’s more and more a critical strategy for not just surviving, but thriving.”




Production & Development for Improv Is No Joke by Podcast Masters