“This whole chapter has probably been slightly abstract and nebulous for some. Without examples , all this chapter says to do is to bring up earlier points that were funny or powerful, and integrate them into the current topic.
That’s essentially it, but the impact and humor this can make is best illustrated through example.
You are talking with a friend about puppies , and you discover that your friend has never actually held a live puppy, just marveled at them from a distance. This is probably going to constitute a high point, because it’s something that is slightly shocking, and funny when you think about it. This is something that you might want to reincorporate.
Later in the conversation, the topic turns to rollercoasters , and specifically how your friend loves them. How do you reincorporate the part about puppies?
It’s just combining the two elements in a novel way. “I guess you spent all of your time on rollercoasters and ignored the cute puppies in the amusement parks…”
Another example: you are talking about coffee and you divulge that you hate it. Consider that a conversational high point. Then the topic turns to the cleanliness of public bathrooms. You could reincorporate the earlier high point by making a comment about how you are safe from public bathrooms because don’t drink coffee (coffee is a diuretic and makes you have to urinate).
Try this exercise:
Have a conversation with a friend, but have a pen and paper in hand. Try to note conversational high points when they happen, and write them down for reference later. Then, write down all of the topics as they come up.
Take all of the conversational high points you listed, and see how you can combine them with the subsequent topics that arose like in the example above. This may seem like an odd exercise, but this is exactly what thinking on your feet is – except now you get to practice it.
Chapter 13: Yes, we are talking about practice.
Rule of Improv Comedy: There’s a reason why the people involved in improv comedy are called players and why performances are treated like sports games – it’s something that people practice for, to produce the best result like any sport.
I’ve laid out some solid guidelines and techniques for conversation mastery in this book. Just don’t expect these rules to pay off immediately.
There are some things you can put into practice immediately… but ultimately, you have to understand that for you to get truly good at anything, you have to practice, practice and practice .
Excellence does not happen overnight . Everything that is worth anything must be trained, and must be worked on. It is like a sport. It takes practice and sometimes takes a while to see visible improvement.
What do improv players have to practice ?
Timing, reaction to others, how to deal with certain situations and topics, what their comfort zones are, what they are good at, what they are bad at, reading other people… they can literally never practice enough because there are so many variables in human interaction.
So what makes you think that conversation , which involves all of those same elements, would be so easy?
You also have to remember that just because you stepped up to the plate does not necessarily mean you are going to hit the ball. In many cases, you have to strike out before you hit a home run. You have to pay your dues and the same applies to great conversation skills.
The power of momentum.
If there is any saving grace in the trying process of improving your conversational skills with improv, it is this: eventually you will reach your point of momentum .
This means that by simply repeating an action over and over again, you set in motion a series of steps that paves the way to success. It is all about getting up and trying again and again, and sooner or later you will realize that it’s been a while since you’ve fallen down. This will instill additional confidence in you, and confidence is a key component of skills.”