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

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Saturday and Sunday
Course Format: On-campus (About Formats)
Duration: 2 days
Date(s): Jan 20—Jan 21
Time: 10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 13
Unit: 1
Tuition: $440
Instructor(s): Debra Schifrin, Daniel Schifrin
Limit: 26
Class Recording Available: No
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Saturday and Sunday
10:00 am—4:00 pm (PT)
Jan 20—Jan 21
2 days
Refund Date
Jan 13
1 Unit
Debra Schifrin, Daniel Schifrin
ACCESS 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 communication 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 800, 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 required.

Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business; Founder, Debra Schifrin Consulting

Debra Schifrin is a corporate consultant and lecturer in management at Stanford Graduate School of Business. She co-created the school’s first and only improv-based MBA management course, "Spontaneous Management." As a consultant, she designs and leads innovative, improv-based training sessions for businesses on leadership, communications, collaboration, and storytelling. Her clients come from multiple sectors, including high tech, consulting, medicine, educational technology, consumer goods, and finance. Clients include Bain & Company, Box, DoorDash, Yelp, and Kaiser Permanente. She is an experienced improv teacher and performer. Before coming to Stanford, she spent a decade as a reporter, director, and producer for National Public Radio and "Marketplace," where she reported her stories and commentaries on-air for millions of listeners nationwide.

Founder, StoryForward

Dan Schifrin, founder of StoryForward, consults with organizations and companies around the world in the areas of creativity, narrative design, and storytelling. Apart from his courses for Stanford Continuing Studies, he has taught in the Department of Architecture at UC Berkeley and the creative writing program at San Francisco State. He is also the co-curator of the exhibition “Beyond Belief” for SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum.

Textbooks for this course:

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