Improving Through Improv

by Dmitriy Kondratyev, New York City College of Technology

What many people these days lack is the personable skills needed to meet new people and actively engage without being bound by topics only within their comfort zones. Another really big issue that many technologically savvy people seem to have is lack of eye contact, which can speak about your character and gauge how confident you are versus your competition. Another issue that seems to plague developers is working in a team. Since most of us started coding and usually work on personal projects or classwork ourselves, moving to work within a team is a struggle of communication and trust. These skills are some of the most notable soft skills that are not only sought after, but can be the trait that gets you the job versus the candidate that has the same or better credentials than you.

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Each of us made part of a machine by contributing a movement and sound.

How do we work on these skills? Well there are books, there are professional classes that can be paid for by your workplace, or you can simply play some games.

Simple improv games that are guided by a pair of professionals can really guide anyone to improve their soft skills.

At our improvisation (improv) workshop, we had the pleasure of working with two professionals to help us feel comfortable making eye contact, develop trust through games where if you didn’t trust your partner you would lose, and engage in games where we had to develop stories, building on our partners’ ideas.

By the end of the workshop, we were all making direct eye contact, whereas before we would slightly glance away, we were able to build off topics that were presented to us and develop them with our own ideas, and we felt more relaxed, more focused, and more in sync with our group. We all left smiling and ready to go back to our busy daily routines.

If you want a relaxing and fun way to improve your soft skills, and teamwork, just remember: You can’t spell improve without improv!

Dmitriy Kondratyev is a soon-to-be graduate of New York City College of Technology with a degree in Computer Systems. When he’s not practicing mobile application development, he is setting up internet tv services and magicjack for the elder community of the Sheapshead Bay area, or helping friends and family with any computer system related issues.

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