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COM 42 — Improvisationally Speaking

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Apr 2—Jun 4
Time: 7:00—9:05 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 15
Units: 2
Tuition: $520
Instructor(s): Matt Abrahams, Adam Tobin
Limit: 40
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on May 28
7:00—9:05 pm
Apr 2—Jun 4
9 weeks
Drop By
Apr 15
2 Units
Matt Abrahams, Adam Tobin
Please Note: No class on May 28
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 BoldEcho Communication Solutions. He received an MA in communication from UC Davis.

Adam Tobin, Senior Lecturer, Film & 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, and Discovery Channel. 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 received an MFA in screenwriting from the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Patricia Madson, Improv Wisdom (ISBN 1400081882)
(Required) Matt Abrahams, Speaking Up without Freaking Out, 3rd edition (ISBN 1465290478)