An improviser calls

We are all improvising, all of the time.

It’s what makes life happen in real-time, and it creates a world full of choices, options and possibilities.

And yet are we improvising well? Are we taking life’s opportunities? Are we bringing other people with us? Are we being here & now when it matters?

To improvise well, we recommend that you carry the improvisers calling card.

The improvisers calling card

The improvisers calling card identifies you as someone who is engaged in the present moment and involved in the conversation with life.

It’s free and it weighs nothing. And it will help you take your chances in life and work, and it can get you out of any amount of trouble. Don’t leave home without it! 

The improvisers calling card is just three simple words that will help you improvise well in any situation:

Accept, Build & Commit

These words are familiar to you and you know how they work. That’s a good thing. Simplicity is the hallmark of skill.

So whether you’re in the boardroom, the bedroom, or building a business in the back room, you can use this simple ABC to improve your relationships and turn ideas into reality.*

*You’ll have to be a damn good listener as well. Improvisation is a responsive art that starts with open, outward attention.

Accepting offers is about seeing opportunities in what others say and do, and in your own experience, rather than being defensive and throwing up obstacles.

The idea of ‘offers’ is a term use by improvisers meaning that everything you can notice or observe is something you can accept, value and use. It means starting where you are, rather than wishing you were starting somewhere else. It means working with what’s already there, what’s happening now, and doing what you can with what you’ve got.


This idea is commonly known to improvisers as accept and build which is encapsulated in the classic maxim of ‘Yes, and’.

Saying “Yes” acknowledges the value in an offer. “And” lets us bring our own thoughts and feelings to the party so that the energy flows. When we “Yes and” we build something together that is greater than we can achieve on our own. You can build on an idea, but the braver choice is to build with other people – that means sharing control and making them look good. That’s a nice choice.


By committing you don’t pretend to be perfect, but you do show that you really want to engage and support others. Rather than holding back, you take a step forward to do what matters. It means acting from clear intentions and values. With a clear intention to commit it becomes easier to relax, be yourself and show up. That’s when the magic happens!

Commit is not a breathless reaction. You can still take a breath (or three) and access your highest intelligence, and yet be responsive moment-by-moment. People know when you’re in it with them,

The improvisers calling card

That’s it. ABC. Carry it everywhere you go.

Photo by Alex Menhams

A few more ideas

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