What We Do
We write, speak, improvise and train.
A friend to the pen, we write blogs, eBooks, content marketing and winning award submissions. Television & corporate video scripts that are crisp and professional. Speeches, CEO Roasts and company comedy sketches that live on long after the company picnic.
Being inherently positive and collaborative, improv brings connection and insight. The “yes, and” approach to work, family and life allows for greater possibilities and open communication. How we communicate, how we are perceived and learning to respond rather than react are just a few important takeaways.
Facilitation involves deep listening and an acuity in communication. Process and agenda are choreographed into group cohesion and cooperation. The secret is a group process that flows – and with it will flow the group’s ideas, solutions, and decisions.
“What we learn with pleasure we never forget.” Albert Mercier
A sought after speaker, Nancy informs, inspires and challenges her audience by arousing curiosity, eliciting creative problem-solving and tapping the audience’s intuitive knowledge.
Nancy Watt Communications is a creative agency that offers specialized facilitation and speaking engagements using evidence-based research and the tools and techniques of improvisational theatre.
A fun-filled, two-hour Improv Bootcamp. An exploration of the principles of Improv and how it relates to innovative thinking, risk taking, active listening and collaboration. We use the tools of Improvisational Theatre and tactics from the masters of comedy and improv, including Del Close, Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Jordan Peele, and Colin Mochrie. A popular workshop for teams wishing to move from the ‘Safe Space’ to the ‘Brave Space’.
Maximum capacity is 15 people.
A six-week series exploring the body of research around six core areas of Positive Psychology: Positivity, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement, and Vitality. Using evidence-based social science and psychology research, Nancy Watt applies that research in six, sixty-minute interactive and dynamic sessions using the tools and techniques of improv.
The object is twofold: first, to deliver a dynamic interaction which builds better teams, and secondly, cover the areas of relevant business psychology and positive psychology that managers are often too busy to absorb.
Practical exercises and interventions are offered to gain professional insight, personal awareness, and strengthened teams. And laughter. We laugh a lot.
Included in this series is research from: Amy Edmondson, Ben Horowitz, Albert Bandura, Carol Dweck, Adam Grant, Martin Seligman, Angela Duckworth, David Rock, Arianna Huffington, Simon Sinek, Shelley E. Taylor, Barbara Fredrickson, Charles R. Snyder and others.
This six-week series can be broken up and each of the six areas can be a workshop on its own.
E.B. White once said, “Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You understand it better, but the frog dies in the process.”
At the risk of killing the joke, in this ninety-minute workshop we examine comedy and learn how to leverage this skill, and, in the process, connect, lead and laugh a lot more.
Anthropology tells us humans were laughing before they could speak, and this fascinating cross-cultural exploration of the currency of comedy reveals more about what is behind the “funny”. The interactive ninety-minute Applied Improv workshop explores the history of comedy, the four types of humor, how and when we use it, and interestingly, insights of Humorists themselves.
One of the first things comedians are taught to do is produce an opposing perspective. It is Comedy 101. Doing this is important because it overcomes the status quo bias, and status quo bias is a risk for business because it causes risk aversion. We are in for trouble when the risk of deviating from the status quo looms larger than the reward from deviating from it. This workshop explores how comedians and managers foster risk, innovative thinking and inclusive behaviors by seeking and getting more perspectives. We use comedy techniques to connect with others, negotiate better and have fun while doing so.
With insights from University of Colorado’s Humor Research Lab, (or HURL 😉), Behavioral Scientist Peter McGraw, Second City Comedy Sketch Writing Program and SNL Insights.
Communicating ideas clearly and presenting them openly in a public forum is an essential component of success across several domains of life. Being a good public speaker can help advance a career and form strong collaborations. It can help promote ideas and move people to action on issues that affect them directly. To do any of these things well requires a fair amount of standing in front of an audience and delivering a presentation, an idea, or a body of work. And sometimes the only thing that stands between us and the audience is fear.
Enter Improv Training.
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking, and the antidote is to be found in an actor’s playbook. In it we find opportunities for role playing, character development, speech, voice, pace, volume, body language, countenance and fun. Yes, fun. Research shows that people believe us, have longer attention spans and better retention when they witness the presenter enjoying him/herself.
Offered as one ninety-minute workshop or a four-week, sixty-minute series with pre and post self evaluation presentation skills.
NWC offers this workshop as part of a company’s Health and Wellness Program. As a Graduate of ‘The Working Mind’, a course on Wellness Management from Canada’s exclusive Commission on Mental Health, Nancy leads participants into a unified, cohesive group. This workshop examines mental stress, how that shows up, and offers direct interventions to help ourselves and others.
We take interventions from Positive Psychology research. This field of psychology is often erroneously thought of as some sort of ‘Happiology’. It is not. Positive Psychology is the science of optimal human functioning, and far from being a prescription to be positive all the time, it more accurately determines how humans learn to suffer well. And, like all of Nancy’s workshops, we explore and collaborate with the camaraderie and ensemble-building tactics of improvisational theatre.
This is offered as a two-hour workshop or a weekly, sixty-minute session for four weeks.
EQ-i 2.0 is the next generation Emotional Intelligence Assessment. Since it was developed at Yale University almost thirty years ago, Emotional Intelligence has been a part of organizational and leadership development programs worldwide. In this NWC offering, an EQ-i 2.0 Assessment is given to each participant and an individual one-hour debrief coaching session provided. Then, two weeks after the last assessment, a group to a maximum of fifteen people participate in an interactive, dynamic two-hour Improv Workshop that explores and explains the five domains of Emotional Intelligence: Self Perception, Self-Expression, Interpersonal Skills, Decision Making and Stress Management. Optional post-workshop coaching sessions provided.
LEGO Serious Play is a tool for building a better business. LSP gives a tactile experience that is thoughtful, cerebral and creative. It is a tool that lets our mind form and organize new thoughts. It uses bricks to visualize situations and enhance business performance. The method is based on science and research that shows that hands-on, minds-on learning can produce a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities. Individual and group collaborative builds provide team building and an opportunity for appreciation of another’s point of view and perspective.
LEGO kits are mailed to participants, along with an initial questionnaire about team building and goal setting.
Using Improv’s “Yes, and” approach, we learn to build a lot more than the famous pieces of LEGO and invite the neurodiversity of thought, experience and creativity to this workshop. Potential LSP Applications:
- Strategic Planning
- Culture and Change management
- Innovation and Product Development
- Team Building and Team Identity
- Leadership Development
For over a decade, Nancy Watt has been teaching a Creative Writing course in Hamilton, Ontario. Harnessing the power of Freefall Writing, this consciousness-streaming practice is an old, time tested, writer’s practice. It elicits ideas, insights and introspection. It is a “Yes, and” approach with a pen. The goal of this two-hour workshop is to tap an inner resource and intuitive knowledge that rarely sees the light of day. Individual and collaborative writing exercises are given and offer an appreciation for diversity of thought and expression.
Offered as a two-hour workshop or four-week series.
Maximum eight people per writing group.
As a skill, adaptability has gone from interesting to important. 2020, case in point.
Over the last few years there has been a tsunami of social science research about human adaptability. However, it remains synthetic knowledge until it is applied. Nancy presents evidence for this in a dynamic and engaging way that reveals what Adaptability is through the principles of Improv. In her typical ‘pracademic’ style, she explains what human adaptability is, what it is not, and how we can learn this for ourselves and our teams through improv, laughter and ensemble building.
Humans learn better when we are laughing, and the insights will stay long after the workshop. With a forward-thinking approach and much needed dose of positivity, this ninety-minute talk will engage, inform and entertain attendees.
This workshop is presently the most popular and most relevant. It is often delivered in conjunction with AQ, Adaptability Assessments.
Individual or Team Adaptability is explored using the AQ assessment. The A.C.E. Model of Ability, Character, and Environment is used to explain the robust body of valid and reliable research that went into developing this metric.
Ability is how and to what degree do we adapt?
Five areas of social science research include:
- Mental Flexibility
Character explores who adapts and why?
Five areas of social science research include:
- Emotional Range
- Motivational Style
- Thinking Style
Environment explores when does someone adapt and to what degree?
Five Areas of Social Science research include:
- Company support
- Emotional Health
- Team Support
- Work Environment
- Work Stress
A full debrief of the assessment and Individual and/or Team coaching is offered.
Often, the people we call to a TEAMS meeting have just come from a TEAMS meeting. Since video conferencing fatigue is a real thing, listening can be challenging. We need the attention of all participants and so this workshop offers fun, listening-centered improv exercises that truly engage and lighten the cognitive load. Humans listen better when we are in a combined state of intrigue, fun and destress. These exercises do all three.
The exercises are geared to enhance:
Improv training is like a laboratory where we play with different characters and states of being. It also nudges us to consider our pre-conceived notions, biases, and behaviors that limit our ability to effectively lead and it offers strategies for our own health and wellbeing. By ‘seeing more’, we build deeper, authentic relationships across social differences. We begin to realize the unlimited potential we possess to manifest our goals, and become leading-edge, culturally inclusive role models who empower others to fulfill their potential in our increasingly multicultural 21st century world.
There is a lot of noise out there, and the problem with traditional D&I training is that people are learning what to say without understanding the meaning behind the words. Consequently, we are not moving the behavioral dial. Experiential learning changes that.
In this offering, we literally build a working improv ensemble through direct application of Diversity & Inclusion research.
Four, ninety-minute four-week workshops take participants through an immersive program based on experiential learning that leaves them empowered with insights into how to listen, believe, strategize and apply a culture where diversity is the norm and not the new.
In an ensemble-building environment, participants learn about the immense power of authentic connection, the costly consequences of poor communication and collaboration, and benefits of deep and active listening. Through experiential learning we adopt the “Yes, and” approach and realize it is not just the first rule of improv, but in fact a life philosophy and powerful force in accepting diversity, better collaboration, bystander intervention and allyship.
Skill building includes:
- Seeing and Believing
- Intervention Strategies
- Situational Awareness
Laughter through Cooperation
“Either the United States will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.” – Carter Woodson, Father of Black History
Diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice and belonging takes a lot of work.
2020 awakened yet another racial reckoning and recent events have highlighted the need for us to awaken to a new reality of creating brave spaces where we all feel our contributions and voices matter.
From understanding the long-term effects of code-switching and its impact on company retention, to intersectionality and the cycle of socialization, topics need to be examined and understood to bring the light of truth to the conversation. However, too often information and facts are delivered in a process of giving out. Communication is getting through.
Nancy Watt, uses creativity, humour, and evidence-based research to elucidate facts will lead the group in an engaging and interactive hour-long conversation that moves people from the safe place to the brave space. Our personal experience, political consequences, and collective strength will be heard because we need many voices, different angles, and varied approaches to tackle this complicated social dilemma.
Presentation and Think-fast skills
For middle school aged children this dynamic workshop highlights the listening, focus and speed work of improv. Feeling confident and smart is the result of this highly interactive workshop. Middle Schoolers get valuable improv training allowing them to think on their feet, deal with the unpredictable and most of all, feel smart!
At this age students enter the public speaking arena for the first time and need to understand non-verbal communication, voice projection and other effective speaking techniques.
The triangulation of relationships and status building
Older grades enjoy this edgier, more mature improv session where character development, status building and conflict resolution is explored in a comraderie-filled and safe environment. This insightful workshop spotlights communication styles and how those styles can enhance or hinder relationships. For many, it’s often a first look into the dynamics of gender, age and ethnicity differences.
A strong foundation of improv basics and team building exercises is given.
For many in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics arena, communicating with clarity and meaning is a challenge. This dynamic workshop explores creativity and a different way of thinking and learning using improv, physicality and decisions based on character and emotional offers.
For younger grades, Loose Tooth is all about the fun found in cooperation. The best smiles are the toothy ones and in this 60-90 minute workshop children learn to give and take to create. Improv games promote listening and learning through laughter.
Helping others is key for these games to succeed and when everyone works together, something magical is built.
A presentation skills workshop for Engineers, IT professionals and others who deliver technical talks. Knowing how to engage the audience, read body language and communicate effectively is important to any presentation. Based on the work of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, this highly regarded workshop has been offered to McMaster, U of T Physics Department and technology companies.
Communication Gap: Skills for Bridging the Gender Divide
Learn how to enhance employees’ communication skills for efficiency, integrity, and achievement at all levels of an organization. Social psychology reveals subtle and powerful ways that men and women disconnect.
This costs an organization and the best way to examine the chasm is through laughter and insight.
This fun session introduces participants to the power of play and fundamentals of improvisation to tap creativity. Research explains how play shapes our brains, inspires creativity and creates competence. For workers in the digital economy, creativity is mined in the fields of inspiration. Unleashing creativity through play is a powerful experience and members will leave feeling invigorated and motivated to take back to their teams exercises that inspire and focus on results.
Strong teams with a high level of trust are like dynamite that can blast through any obstacle. Without a foundation of trust, teams lack the speed and agility required to compete on today’s world stage. This fun and highly interactive session will use time-tested communication and awareness techniques from the field of improvisation to help participants create an employee engagement action plan for their organizations. Along with a few laughs, the session’s souvenirs will be the positive implications of leading with “yes”, the benefits of focused listening, and the value of communicating clear intention.
As a seasoned sales professional you know that you need to be ready for anything—to adjust at a moment’s notice, to overcome objections, to deftly bring new perspectives to the table and, to always, always turn a negative into a positive. The nimble-footed, quick-thinking Spontaneous Genius is armed with tools embracing the three A’s: Accept, Acknowledge, and Accelerate. This fun and highly interactive session will use time tested communication and awareness techniques from the field of improvisation to teach participants how to put the three A’s to work:
- Accept — Hone skills in listening and observation.
- Acknowledge — Learn to be present and open in the moment.
- Accelerate — React spontaneously and seamlessly to present new perspectives.
How you are perceived is one of the most important factors in your leadership portfolio. Projecting executive presence outweighs competency and experience as a critical factor in career advancement. Falling short on executive presence is often cited as the biggest barrier for women pursuing more senior positions. According to research, how you act and how you communicate account for 95% of executive presence. This workshop will focus on applying the time-tested communication and awareness techniques from the art of improvisation to the specific and most common challenges women face in establishing their executive presence. Key to this session will be understanding what and how status is conveyed, how to adjust status to advance a situation, and how communicate messages with authenticity, authority, and intention.
"100 staff and graduate students attended. It was easily one of the most dynamic and effective colloquia we have ever given."
David M. Harrison, Senior Lecturer Emeritus
University of Toronto
"It was fantastic! Improv encouraged even the most shy and introverted student and it gave the extroverted types the opportunity to listen. I cannot say enough how powerful the afternoon was for my students. It was one of the highlights of my teaching career."
L. Richards, Teacher of 23 yrs,
Brookdale Elementary, Oakville, Ontario
"I collaborated on a networking event with Nancy for Enterprising Women and found her to be a real joy to work with. She was professional, delightful, engaging and I would highly recommend her as a key note speaker!"
Marty Britton, President & CEO
Britton Management Profiles Inc.
"Nancy presented a dynamic lesson on bridging the gender communication gap…insightful, active, engaging and thought-provoking…with more laughter than we’ve ever shared at our local monthly engineering meeting."
Mary Ellen Bruce Large, P.E., D.GE | Director of Technical Activities
Deep Foundations Institute
"Improv was a scary word for me until I met Nancy! She instantly brought a light to my group and helped each and every one of us shine brighter. She was even kind enough to stay late and help us perfect some of our business improv skills - which have certainly paid off!! Thank you Nancy, we will be calling again!"
Bailey Morrison, The Rhyze Project & Events Coordinator
I thoroughly enjoyed myself – it was such a nice break from my usual daily routine and I found the experience and learning very meaningful. Thank you for sharing your talent and expertise.
Rabbi Jordan Cohen
Please contact us to understand how our work applies to your organization or event.