Have you had a chance to listen to the podcast on AUTHENTICITY yet?  With federal elections coming up in both Canada ??and the U.S.??, a few of you told me this podcast helped you evaluate political candidates in terms of their authenticity! 

This week we shift gears and look to the IMPROV STAGE for some lessons on how to improve our communication skills. 

You can skim this short email or click the links to learn more!

Let’s do this….

Lessons From the IMPROV Stage

Get ready to laugh!

For this week’s podcast, I interviewed two improv comedians, Sandy Marshall and Sandy Jobin Bevans. 


As they were seated across from me at my dining room table, I confessed to Sandy and Sandy that I was very nervous about interviewing two seasoned comedians. ? But the conversation flowed easily.  Sandy and Sandy knew how to create a fun atmosphere where I didn’t have to reference my (ironically) prepared notes! 
At the end of this podcast interview, my face was hurting from smiling so much! ?I was also surprised at how much I learned. 

Sandy Marshall

Sandy Marshall is a Chicago Emmy-nominated writer and producer. He is a former vice president at the world famous Second City Works and he is now a faculty member at the Second City Training Centre. He created the satirical business column called Workish, he’s a 2x NASA Social alum, co-founder of Toronto’s Ensemble learning series, and a 4-time Jurist at the Banff World Media Festival. As an actor, Sandy Marshall has appeared alongside Vince Vaughn in Ron Howard’s The Dilemma, on Comedy Central’s Still Hungry, and you can see him in PBS’s Emmy-winning Odd Squad. You may have also seen Sandy dressed up as an Exxon scientist in numerous TV commercials. Have you seen those commercials?  That’s him!

Sandy Jobin-Bevans

Sandy Jobin-Bevans is a nine-time winner at the Canadian Comedy Awards, and an alumnus of the legendary Second City Mainstage. In addition to appearing in many commercials, Sandy Jobin-Bevans has also appeared in the Great Home Giveaway, Hotbox, You Kill Me, Harold & Kumar Go To Whitecastle, Life With Boys, and Deal With It.  More recently you can see Sandy Jobin-Bevans in the Lifetime movie, Flint, on the NBC sitcom, Bijillionaires, and co-hosting the show Just Like Mom and Dad.

Sandy Marshall, Sandy Jobin-Bevans, and… a robot

Sandy and Sandy are now partners at a firm called Norman Howard, a Toronto-based comedic content shop. Over the years, they have delivered content and training for many companies and executives.  In this podcast, they share their insights with us!

THANK YOU, Sandy & Sandy! ?

Enjoy the podcast! 



Just a few of the lessons from the Improv stage that you will learn:

?Preparation ?

  • Know your audience – Know who’s in the room in advance.  Ask, “Who is everyone going to look at to see if it’s ok to laugh?” 
  • Mistakes – When you go to an audition, a job interview, or a sales pitch, you either nail it or – you have a great story.


?Content ?

  • Pimping is assigning someone else a task that you don’t want to do.
  • Burning a suggestion is asking for a suggestion, with an example that you don’t want to use (e.g. ‘”Can I get a suggestion for character name – like Sandy?”)
  • Play the scene you’re in, not the one you want to be in. This is great advice for LIFE, right?


?Tone ?

  • Competition vs. Cooperation – Much of what we do offstage is a zero sum game. The thing about improv, is that it’s not a zero sum game. You can laugh at everybody. Improvisers have a pre-show ritual:  “Got your back. Got your back, got your back.” 
  • YES AND is a core tenet of improv. Yes, I heard your offer. And I build on that offer. Try responding with “Yes, and.”
  • Respect and empathy are key to improv. That means “listening and being a good human.”



1. Laughter Makes Us More Creative

There is plenty of research out there showing that when the mood is light, when we are happier (laughing!), we come up with more and better ideas! (So cue up the sitcom before that brainstorming session!)

2. Laughter Reduces Stress 

Laughing changes our blood chemistry, decreases stress hormones and releases endorphins. (So put a smile on your dial!)

3. Laughter Improves Our Physical Health

According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter relieves pain and releases t-cells (that increase immunity), Laughing also burns calories and lowers our blood pressure.  (So if you have high blood pressure, maybe go watch some stand-up?)



I hope you enjoy this week’s podcast on Lessons From the IMPROV Stage

Thanks again to Sandy and Sandy for sharing their expertise and making us laugh!!!

If you’re in the mood to laugh some more, you might also listen to Talk About Talk podcast #22: Funny Talk with professor and stand-up comedian Hillary Anger Elfenbein You should hear how she tries to dress when she’s teaching (and why) and what she’s really thinking when her business school students are filling-out their teacher evaluations…!!!

Andrea & Hillary – LAUGHING!

OK – that’s it!  Just one ask: If you enjoy these FREE weekly blogs and podcasts, I ask you to please ?forward this email or send this link to your friends and colleagues who may also be interested in learning about how to become more a more effective and confident communicator.


As always, please don’t hesitate to email me or post on social media anytime with feedback or suggestions!