Saturday, March 31, 2012


On the long drive from Los Angeles to Salt Lake City (13 straight hours) I had the pleasure of listening to Tina Fey's Bossypants on audio book. My interest was solely on the entertainment factor. However something caught my attention that tied in perfectly to recruitment and Social Excellence. Now I have a reason to combine my professional life and my celebrity crush on Tina Fey.

For those of you who don't know, Tina Fey studied improv before hosting Weekend Update and impersonating Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. After detailing her lessons at Second City in Chicago, she lays out for the readers the simple rules of improv comedy:

1. Say "Yes"
When it comes to improv, this shows respect for a co-worker who sets a scene. However, in the recruitment world the word "yes" opens up a lot more doors than "no".

2. Not Only Say "Yes", But "Yes And"
This shows genuine interest in what the other person is saying and provides an avenue for additional diologue. To only agree with the other person is just another conversational road block, offer something in exchange to keep things fluid.

3. Make Statements
Unless you're in the middle of a formal interview or police interrogation, its probably common courtesy to allow the other person to ask questions. This is accomplished by simply making a statement and allowing the other person an opportunity to flip roles.

4. There Are No Mistakes
Tina continues with "There are no mistakes, just opportunities". Every conversation, every question and every answer is a new opportunity to open up or learn something new about the other person. Don't regret anything and just go with the flow. Some of the best innovations in recent memory have been accidents....ask Pfizer.

Unlike the improv show Who's Line is it Anyway?, the points do matter when it comes to recruitment. Remember these simple rules to improve both your conversation and your improv skills. If you haven't experienced it yet, I highly recommend Bossypants. Just be warned it has some crude language - and if I'm saying that you should know what you're getting into.

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