Business Principles Taken From Improvisational Comedy

I was recently introduced to the three core principles of improv (or improvisational comedy) and they really resonated with how I do business. And my approach to life. These are too good to keep to myself.

They are:

  1. Say “yes, and…”
  2. Work with what you’ve got.
  3. Make everyone else look like a superstar

When I was told of these principles there was a huge ‘aha’ on my part. I realise that these principles permeate so much into how I do business.


  1. Say “yes, and…”

Saying “yes, but” or “no” is an absolute killer to any conversation. It destroys any enthusiasm or innovative thought process. “Yes, and…” is the only way to respond to someone’s idea.


  1. Work with what you’ve got

People spend too long wishing things weren’t quite as they are. “If only…” is what they say. They spend more time grumbling than getting on with the task in hand or adapting to what is available and what is possible.


  1. Make everyone else look like a superstar

This is inextricably linked to the principles behind working with what you’ve got and not endlessly groaning and grumbling. Making everyone look like a superstar is about making everyone around you feel good about themselves. It is about praising and celebrating what people do really well. It just makes people feel better about themselves and feel good when they are around you.