Interview with Katie Goodman
What are typical reasons your clients want to learn to use improv comedy in everyday life?
Desperation! I’m semi-kidding, but they are frustrated with feeling blocked creatively, not feeling self-confident, and fearful of taking innovative risks at work or in life in general. The tools of improv are applicable to all areas of life and work.
My clients want to connect with each other better, feel confident enough to share ideas, to collaborate better, and also to get their brains working in a way that allows for innovation for their businesses to grow.
How do you prepare for speaking engagements?
Well the irony is it’s improvised to a large extent (I’d better practice what I preach!) and each speech is geared specifically to the company or organization or conference I speak at, so I generally just need to learn about the group and what their difficulties are intrinsic to their field.
So for example, a group of software guys who need to train strangers on their software wanted to learn how to quickly break the ice and connect. A nursing conference all experienced burnout and had struggles with collaboration in the emergency room. A major bank’s women traders didn’t feel confident speaking up at staff meetings. Each group can use these tools of improv in a unique way so I learn about the group and gear my talk directly toward their needs. It’s easy because these tools really translate across the board.
Can you give three tips to individuals struggling with being their authentic selves?
Here’s the thing: if you get accolades and praise for being someone you’re not, it’s going to feel hollow and so what’s the point of that? If you are authentically YOU, then it’s going to actually make you proud when you succeed. Have a chat with your Inner Critic. Why aren’t you able to be authentic? What are you afraid is going to happen? That you’ll be excluded? Generally when you are authentic you find your way to people who appreciate you and then you’re going to be much happier, more effective, and ultimately more successful. But I have a whole book on this, so grab it and dive in!
Who or what inspires you most?
People who think outside the box. Playful people who love life and can really connect with others. One of the most important things we need now globally is connection, understanding differences and embracing all kinds of people. We need creative solutions to a huge number of problems from climate change to economics to refugee crises. Allowing ourselves time for inspiration to bubble up is so important.
What got you interested in comedy?
I think I’ve just always loved how comedy allows us to step back and see things with greater clarity. By definition we are getting perspective on something when we laugh at it. I started in theatre, not stand-up, so I was inspired by comedy in live settings but with a story and characters. I loved sitting in a room laughing with complete strangers. It was a a good way to feel alive.
Do you have a favourite experience from your speaking career?
Arianna Huffington’s Thrive event was remarkable in that it was filled with people all wanting to help other people grow and change the world. I also liked when I spoke at an Inbound Conference, and I spoke after Michelle Obama. Down the hall in another room, but I started out by saying Michelle Obama had just opened for me!