The hidden trap in “Yes, and”

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Lots of business posts reveal how the “secrets of improv” can help your team.

But many bloggers don’t have real improv experience, so they miss important points.

Take “Yes, and.” It’s great for collaboration. But many people think it’s only about the language.

Consider this:
A: “Let’s go to the beach!”
B: “Yes! And let’s bring sandwiches!”
A: “Yes! And we’ll play volleyball!”
B: “Yes! And cool drinks!”

A and B are saying the right words and planning a lovely day.

But notice they’re still pursuing their own interests. B wants to know what they’re eating while A is planning activities. There’s no real collaboration here. And because of that, none of the ideas have any depth.

“Yes, and” is about accepting and focusing on the first idea, then building on it.

For example:
B: “Yes! And let’s bring sandwiches!”
A: “Okay, how about ham & cheese?”
B: “I love those! And maybe some veggie ones for our meatless friends.”
A: “Iced tea would go great with that.”

Now we have strong ideas about the food, which gets everyone clear on how to execute. For activities, we could then go back and apply the same process.

“Yes, and” builds deep solutions fast when everyone stays focused on one idea.

Have you tried it?