Welcome to One Word Suggestion.
Most people think improv is just for comedy or jazz music. But, really, it’s a tool for life. For each article in this series I use a single word, suggested by you, as a leaping off point to explore how having an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level, both personally and professionally, whether you have a career on or off the stage.
One Word Suggestion: Sincerity
This week’s word, “sincerity” was suggested by Louise.
Along with patience and compassion, sincerity is one of those qualities we all probably wish we had more of — or at least wish other people had more of. And I think we all know insincerity when we see it, but what exactly does it mean to be sincere?
A short answer might be the absence of pretence, deceit, or hypocrisy combined with a mix of seriousness, honesty and just being straight up with people.
You can’t be sincere if you say you love Vegemite when you actually hate it. Or if you praise someone, but really you don’t like them or their work.
Learning to recognise – and be comfortable with your beliefs can help you become a more genuine person, which in turn can help you become more sincere in your dealings with others.
One of my favourite things about improv is that it creates a safe place where everyone can feel comfortable being themselves. And when people are behaving authentically, there’s no posers. And if people aren’t posing, they’re probably being sincere.
Most improv teacher’s I’ve worked with agree that it’s generally more important to be sincere on stage than it is to try and be funny. The comedy comes from authenticity and truth.
Now, I’m no Freud, but I have a theory that this is why we laugh at stand-up comics – because they give themselves permission to say things we ourselves have thought, or think, but would never say out loud. So we laugh with unconscious recognition. But I digress.
On stage, I think characters can be insincere, but players should never be. If you filter your decisions through your character’s truth and portray that, then that’s maybe the one time where I think insincerity is ok.
But a place where it’s never OK is in the real world, especially in business where you so often need to be able to understand another person’s point of view.
Improv training gives you the self-confidence to let go of ego and listen. You can “yes, and…” someone you disagree with without giving up your truth – or being insincere.
This type of soft skill is becoming crucial to effective leadership – especially in an age where we can so easily respond with a snarky comment or hastily typed out text message.
Like I said at the start, I think we all know insincerity when we see it, and most of us don’t like it. So if you want to work on becoming more sincere, improv training is a great place to start.
And I really mean that.
So that’s my take on sincerity. Thanks for the great suggestion, Louise.
If you want to suggest a word for next week, or add your perspective, drop me a note in the comments or in a review. I’m making one of these every week, for a year, so definitely subscribe, like, share, and all that jazz.
Or better yet, listen to the podcast.
And in the meantime, if you’re interested in improv for personal growth, professional achievement, or just for fun, my suggestion is to get yourself into an improv class or book a corporate training workshop for your team.
You can learn all about PowerProv’s programs at powerprov.com.au
About One Word Suggestion
The One Word Suggestion series is your personal toolbox full of ways to help you use the power of improvisation to craft a more mindful and meaningful existence. Available as articles, a podcast, and soon, a book filled with powerful exercises for teams.
The One Word Suggestion Podcast with Eran Thomson
In each 3-minute episode, Eran uses a single word, suggested by listeners, as a leaping off point to explore how developing an improvisational mindset will help you perform at a higher level personally and professionally.
Whether you aspire to be better on stage or on the job, this quick hit of improv inspiration is sure to bring you some insights, perspective, and joy.
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26 July · Season 1 : One Word Suggestion · Episode 12
One Word Suggestion: Sincerity
By Eran Thomson
Along with patience and compassion, sincerity is one of those qualities we all probably wish we had more of — or at least wish other people had more of.