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COM 66 — Think on Your Feet: An Improviser’s Guide to Business and Communication

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Sat/Sun
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Jul 23—Jul 24
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 16
Unit: 1
Tuition: $395
Instructor(s): Debra Schifrin, Daniel Schifrin
Limit: 26
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Jul 23—Jul 24
2 days
Refund Date
Jul 16
1 Unit
Debra Schifrin, Daniel Schifrin
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
The skill of thinking on your feet is no longer optional in the workplace; it is mandatory. In this interactive, improvisation-based communications course, you will learn and practice skills for handling the unexpected with calm, grace, inclusiveness, and humor. You will increase your agility, grow your confidence in unpredictable situations, and learn critical new skills and mindsets. These include being more present and open to surprising ideas; cultivating a mindset of curiosity; and engaging with your audience with energy, commitment, and delight. Whether you are in front of an audience of one or eight hundred, you will learn how to prevent missteps and imperfections from derailing you. The course will reveal the ways spontaneity and thinking on your feet can be joyful and how play and humor can be game-changers in creating an authentic and positive connection with your audience. The course will include a blend of interactive activities in pairs and small groups, targeted debriefs, group discussions, and mini-lectures. By taking time to practice these techniques in a supportive and encouraging environment, you will come out of this course a stronger and more intuitive communicator.

This course is not a theater-performance course; no theater or improv experience is necessary.

Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Debra Schifrin teaches two courses at the Stanford GSB that she co-created: "Creativity and the Business Ecosystem," a core strategy course, and "Spontaneous Management," the school’s first improv-based management course. Her consulting firm designs and leads innovative, improv-based training sessions for businesses on leadership, communications, collaboration, and storytelling. She received an MBA from Harvard.

Writer; Storytelling Consultant

Daniel Schifrin developed the framework of Conversation Design to help organizational leaders reach their communications potential. He has taught creative writing and communications courses for Stanford Continuing Studies, UC Berkeley’s Department of Architecture, and SF State’s Department of Creative Writing. His essays and fiction have appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, and other publications.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.