S3E19. Being More Present: 3 Exercises to Make You a Great Leader

Do you get distracted during meetings or even simple conversations?

Of course you do. You’re thinking about the work you should be doing, or the meeting you’re leading later, or how long it is until lunch. The crazy world we live in is full of distractions, so if you’re finding it hard to stay present and in the moment, you’re not alone. People actually spend 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they are doing, according to an article titled “How to Practice Mindfulness Throughout Your Work Day” by the Harvard Business Review

In improv, being present is critical to the success of the ensemble. If you’re trying to think ahead or staying stuck in the past, your scene will fall flat.

It’s impossible to be present every minute of every day, but there are times where we need to be focused on essential tasks and eliminate distractions. One main distraction that needs to be eliminated is our internal dialogue. If we’re constantly talking to ourselves while we should be listening to others, we’re not truly hearing what they have to say.

Luckily, there are improv exercises your team can do to practice being present and in the moment? The two exercises featured in Season 3 Episode 17, the one word story and last word spoken, are great ones to follow. Another exercise to demonstrate presence is called “repetition.” 

Two people start a conversation, speaking one sentence at a time. One participant starts a conversation, and before the other person can respond, they have to repeat the sentence they just heard before adding on to it. The purpose is to listen to the entire sentence before you formulate a response.

To be proficient in improv, you must be a good listener and be present during those crucial moments. To be a proficient leader, you must be a good listener and be present during those crucial moments. The ability to eliminate all distractions and become focused is very hard. It’s something that requires practice. But it is essential.