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The meaning of “yes”

Just got back from a wonderful conference of the Applied Improvisation Network. Met a lot of great people and learned a lot of good stuff.

One of the things I learned was that to our clients our jargon is, well, jargon. Sue Walden  reminded us that our clients may not understand our jargon any better than we understand other professions’ jargon. She drew an appreciative laugh when she talked about the time her computer screen asked he if she wanted to “rip” or “burn.”

In improvisation, our mantra is “yes, and.” We promote it as the most important value in improv based training, but what exactly does it mean? Some clients may be concerned when they think the “yes” in “yes, and” means they have to agree with anything anyone says.

But that’s not the case. For us the “yes” in “yes, and” means not necessarily agreement, but acceptance. We accept what is offered, we don’t reject it out of hand. When we say “yes” meaning acceptance, we accept not only the idea offered, but the person offering it. For us, “yes” means I accept your idea, I accept you, I value your input. “Yes” begins an exchange, “and” carries it forward.

YES, AND! A powerful tool even more powerful when you understand the jargon.

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