Cat Stevens costume

It’s time for a trick & a treat…

It’s that magical time of year when you’re forced to pull together the most-amazing-costume-ever at 9:23pm the night before Halloween. So we thought we’d help out this year with a Trick AND a Treat.

Here’s your trick. 4 simple steps for improvising a last-minute Halloween costume.

1) Hit the 24-hour grocery for black eyeliner, a headband and black construction paper.

2) Make cat ears with the headband and construction paper.

3) Draw whiskers on your face with eyeliner.

4) Brainstorm your favorite CAT word and add appropriate props. Grab the dictionary for some help. Think catatonic, catastrophe, catalytic converter, catalyst, cat litter and so on. Or just pick up your guitar & go as folk musician Cat Stevens! (see picture at top)

Now, here’s a treat. We compiled our survey results from last month and wanted to share the highlights — so you can see what’s on your colleagues’ minds these days.

Hot business topics that keep us up at night:

  • Disruption + new, smaller vendors upsetting the market
  • Using the Cloud for collaboration
  • Leadership, conflict and accountability

Newsletters & blogs we’re reading every week:

Favorite DuMore Improv workshops:

  • Storytelling for Business
  • Fearless Presentation Skills
  • Emotional Intelligence and Improv EQ

Get to work on your amazing cat costume. Then post your costume photos on our Facebook page to let us all know how it turned out. Meow!

STAY SCARY,
Allison & Elizabeth

Grumpy Cat costume

Don’t forget the classic Grumpy Cat costume.

3 cool things you’ve gotta do this month

Do you have a raging case of March Madness, Spring Fever or the Irish Flu (aka St. Patrick’s Day)? Here at DuMore Improv HQ we found 3 more things to get excited about this month. Add these items to the top of your to-do list for March.

1. Check out our new web site! The freshly refreshed DuMore Improv website now features workshop descriptions, pricing details and more. Be sure to share it with your friends and colleagues.

2. Register for the Southeast’s Interactive FestivalDIG South –  taking place April 9-13 in Charleston, SC. DuMore Improv is presenting our “So, What’s Your Story?” workshop about the art of storytelling for business. And we’re going to have a rockin’ refreshment booth in the concourse, a giant wall of innovation and new interactive activities every 30 minutes. Intrigued? We are too! If you are in the area, come hang out with us.

3. Book your fall workshops now! Our fall calendar is already filling up with higher ed orientation workshops and team building sessions. If you are considering a back-to-school or post-summer session, we’d love to get you on our schedule as soon as possible. Call or email us to discuss workshop topics and dates.

Okay, all done? Now you can go work on your NCAA bracket. AND, if you email us your pick for the #1 NCAA Championship winning team, anyone who gets it right will win a DuMore Improv March Madness prize pack! Just send us your name, mailing address & prediction for the final championship winning team.

HAPPY MARCH MADNESS!

Cheers, Allison & Elizabeth

Elizabeth & Allison working on their free throws!

Allison_Elizabeth_Basketball

Let’s talk great partnerships, Valentine’s Day and cute kittens

Okay, we usually don’t get all crazy for kittens, but since it’s Valentine’s Day weekend and we’ve been thinking about partnerships – we couldn’t resist. Repeat after me. Awwwwwwwww. We thought this would be a great time to celebrate partners of all kinds. We’ve been working with some amazing business buddies over the past few months and we want to show them some love with a little shout out.

Candid Partners – Stacy Brees, Merrick Olives and the entire super smart crew at Candid Partners knows how to get it done. Not only are they great at management and technology consulting, but they totally understand how incorporating emotional intelligence and improv skills training with DuMore Improv helps set the stage for their client’s success. If you need a problem-solving partner, you will love these guys and gals.

Laura Camacho & Jocelyn Ring – There’s nothing more fun than partnering with other savvy women to help businesses improve the way they develop and communicate strategies. That’s why we’ve teamed up with Laura of the Mixonian Institute and Jocelyn of The Ring Effect to create a new workshop called Message & Mindset: The Building Blocks of Proactive Communication. This session combines all of our superpowers. Improv + Communication Skills + Strategy Visualization = KAPOW! Let us know if you are interested in learning more about this special offering.

DIG South – We’ve had a huge crush on the folks at DIG South since we first met them last April at the Southeast’s most awesome Interactive Festival ever. We’re partnering with them again this year to craft a crazy interactive improv presentation, a totally rad refreshment booth and who knows what else. Hats off to them for always listening to our wild ideas and saying “yes, and!”

Drop us a line (or a Valentine) if you’d like to partner with us in 2014. Simply reply to this email and we’ll get something started.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY
Cheers, Allison & Elizabeth

We heart dogs, too!
One more time. Awwwwwwwww.

dog_partners

What’s your story this Thanksgiving, turkey?

What have those turkeys at DuMore Improv been up to? Well, this month we’ve been busy teaching storytelling workshops, cooking up new curriculum ideas and looking for holiday recipes online. Thursday is Thanksgiving after all! And it’s a great time to reflect on the amazing stories you’ve created with your friends and families in the past year (or years!)Here’s a fun and easy storytelling game to play around the dinner table. Write simple story prompts on notecards and place one by each person’s plate. Then take turns telling stories based on the ideas. Here’s a handy list of story starters, plus a few our our family favorites:

  • My favorite Thanksgiving was the year that…
  • I know the holidays are here when…
  • My favorite memory of (the person to your right) is…
  • The weirdest holiday gift I’ve ever received was…
  • My favorite holiday movie is _____ because…
On Thanksgiving Day, take a quick trip to our Facebook page and share what you are thankful for. Then get ready for fun Fridays in December. We’ll be playing our holiday themed 185 game again with weekly prize winners!P.S. Our 2014 calendar is filling up already, so get in touch soon if you want to schedule a DuMore Improv workshop to kick-off the new year with your team!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Cheers, Allison & Elizabeth
Here’s a happy ending for your Thanksgiving story!
corona_inflatable_turkey_beach

How can ghost stories help your business?

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays, and as we sit here shoving candy corn in our faces, we were thinking about why we love it so much – ghost stories!! Last month, we taught a brand new workshop “The Business of Storytelling” for our wonderful clients at Turner Entertainment Networks. We dug deep into what makes a great story and ways you can use storytelling skills to improve sales, get buy-in from bosses or share ideas with peers. But did you also know that the secrets to a super spooky campfire story are the same ones you’d use at the office?

Ghost story pro Alasdair Stuart believes there are 4 tricks for capturing the attention of your audience. You have to take control of your environment, audience, story and yourself. A great article in The Guardian reveals his favorite nuances like using a single light source and seating your audience in a wedge than fans out from the speaker. He also explains that a pretense of truth is essential and that it’s helpful to use a repetitive, memorable phrase. Check out the story for yourself and see if you can incorporate his techniques into your next pitch – or at least tell a great Halloween ghost story this season!

Give us a shout (or scream!) if you’d like DuMore Improv to scare up a fun storytelling workshop for your organization. The end is near – how will you tell your 2013 business success story? We can help.

P.S. Join us on Facebook on Thursday, October 31st to help us create an improvised line-at-a-time Halloween ghost story!

HAPPY HAUNTING!
Cheers, Allison & Elizabeth
Here’s to a Halloween filled with more treats than tricks!
candy_corn_parfait

How to start a conversation with MOO

Moo.com is one of our favorite places for clever business ideas and they just let us in on a little secret. You can use their mini cards for teambuilding! Just print up a batch of conversation starter questions (like the ones pictured above) and hand them out at the beginning of your weekly team meetings. It will get the convo flowing and encourage your group to talk about more than “what are you doing for lunch?”. These mini-cards are also great for client meetings and one-on-one chats. Give them a try.

Need help finding a creative way to get your team inspired for 4th quarter? Let DuMore Improv take care of it. We’d love to bring our Intro to Improv, Storytelling for Business or Improvisation for Innovation workshop to your office. Or create a custom workshop designed just for your team. Either way – guaranteed fun!

 

GO TEAM!
Cheers, Allison & Elizabeth

 

P.S. Now, here’s a real Moo-inspired team meeting.

 

cows_field

Add a little improv to your lesson plan!

Remember how exciting the first day of school was? Loading up your book bag with virgin notebooks and putting on your game face. Just because you’re a little older doesn’t mean you can’t own August with a badass back-to-school attitude! Learn something knew with a continuing education course at your local university or community college, sign up for a free online class at Coursera (Elizabeth is taking songwriting!) or better yet, host a DuMore Improv workshop at your office or school and let us teach you some new tricks.

This back-to-school season, DuMore Improv is excited to be teaching over 500 MBA students entering programs at universities across the Southeast. Plus, we’re back for an encore session teaching entering doctoral students at Harvard Business School and we traveled to California to work with business and community leaders at UC Berkeley. Our Improvisation Basics for Business workshop helps students connect with each other early in the semester and jumpstarts their teamwork and collaboration skills from the get-go. This approach works for corporate teams, too, and helps groups refocus after summer vacation and get energized about 4th quarter.

Be sure to follow DuMore Improv on Facebook, where we’ll be featuring a free weekly improv lesson! We’ll post an easy-to-learn improv game every week that you can play with your co-workers, students, friends, family or people you meet in line at Starbucks. Comment, tweet or drop us an email and let us know how you like the games!

Happy Learning!
Allison & Elizabeth

back_to_school_sidewalk