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COM 42 — Improvisationally Speaking

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 4—Jun 6
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 17
Units: 2
Tuition: $435
Instructor(s): Matt Abrahams, Adam Tobin
Limit: 40
Status: Closed
Spring
On-campus course
Tuesdays
7:00—8:50 pm
Date(s)
Apr 4—Jun 6
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 17
2 Units
Fees
$435
Instructor(s):
Matt Abrahams, Adam Tobin
Limit
40
Closed
Concerned about an upcoming question-and-answer session? Anxious about adding your thoughts in a meeting? Afraid of needing to present your hour-long business proposal in twenty minutes? Many of us are uneasy about speaking in public, especially in an impromptu, off-the-cuff manner. However, much of what happens in our personal and professional lives requires exactly this type of communication. By building on our natural speaking and improvisational abilities, we will become more comfortable presenting with authority and awareness. Informed by scholarly research, this hands-on course combines theory, basic principles, and methods of effective public speaking and improvisation in action. Through individual and collaborative exercises, you will learn how to speak extemporaneously with greater confidence and clarity, regardless of content or context. Lessons will directly apply to professional and life skills. The course will emphasize development and delivery of formal presentations and less formal, impromptu speaking opportunities (e.g., job interviews, introductions, toasts, and question-and-answer sessions) through up-on-your-feet activities. We will explore such topics as gaining confidence and conveying credibility, engaging with your material and audience, and quickly putting ideas together. Everyone will participate in improvisational exercises.

Matt Abrahams, Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Matt Abrahams is an educator and coach who has published research articles on cognitive planning, persuasion, and interpersonal communication. He is the author of Speaking Up Without Freaking Out, and a co-founder and principal at Bold Echo Communication Solutions. He received an MA in communication from UC Davis.

Adam Tobin, Senior Lecturer, Film and Media Studies Program, Stanford

Adam Tobin is a screenwriter and an actor. He created the sitcom About a Girl and the reality show Best Friend’s Date for Viacom’s TeenNick (formerly The N channel) and has written for ABC, ESPN, Discovery Channel, and the National Basketball Association. Tobin was a story analyst for Jim Henson Pictures and has taught story and pitching seminars at DreamWorks Animation, Twentieth Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios, and Aardman Animations. He was a founding member of the Stanford Improvisors (SImps) and the Los Angeles performance group The But Franklies. He received an MFA in screenwriting from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Matt Abrahams, Speaking up without Freaking Out, 3rd (ISBN 978-1-4652-9047-2)
(Required) Patricia Ryan Madson, Improv Wisdom: Don't Prepare, Just Show Up (ISBN 1400081882)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)