Skip to main content

Improve Your Presentations With Improv Thinking

Lesson 1 of 6

Class Introduction


Improve Your Presentations With Improv Thinking

Lesson 1 of 6

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Our first section is why you should think like an improviser. We're gonna go over a little bit about what that includes. Yeah, the lessons we're gonna go through today, you see up on the screen. First, why you should think like an improviser. We think it's really important to get people into the mindset of being like an improviser. Improv is something we're always doing, all day, every single day, so getting better at it and being more conscious of it is really important. We're gonna work on how to warm up like an improviser. How can we get our voices, our bodies, and our minds warmed up like an improviser would do so that we can improvise everyday? Yeah, a lot of you, if you've taken improv classes or read anything about it or seen it, you've probably heard about this concept of yes and. This idea of yes and-ing like improviser is very important. It's one of the building blocks of all improvisation. We'll be focusing on that as well. Then we wanna look at how to take creative ...

risks like an improviser. How can we embrace risk and therefore also embrace failure in some ways? Since this is really focused on public speaking and communication in the workplace as well as your daily life, multitasking is really important and it's something we're all doing. I'm appreciative that no one's doing it right now, on their phone so thank you. By doing this stuff, creatively, is really, really hard notice that I didn't touch my hair because someone hair sprayed it and I want it to look just like this. Being able to do two things at once, maybe mentally or maybe something verbally and physically, those are all things that come into play when you're improvising. Let's talk a little bit about ourselves. Yeah. My name is Sammy Wegent. I am one of the co-founders of Speechless and the CEO. Originally, the MCEO because I was the MC of our first show. Really, how this all started was a show five years ago. I've been doing this improvisation stuff for about 20 years, professionally, I've been teaching and performing all of over the country and all over the world. I have a master's in acting. I've done stage acting, TV, commercial, on-camera acting. I guess, a little fun fact about me is I've done so much improv that I've actually done an improv show in a plane that was flying, just around the city and it was the worst comedy club I've ever been in because no one could hear me over the engines. You just flew around and then landed? Yeah, the ticket literally said something like GreatFulls. That's like code in an airport for this plane isn't going anywhere. It just took off, we went around, it was a press event, I did a show with my group, we flew right back to the same airport. It was very strange. Wow, that's crazy, I don't have a fun fact like that. My name is Kimberly MacLean and I'm the director of learning at Speechless. I was actually a high school teacher for 17 years. I also teach college. I have a master's in educational best practices. A lot of the work I do with Speechless is designing our curriculum with those best practices in mind. I'm also an improvisor and an actor around the Bay Area. I've been doing improvisation for about 25 years. A fun fact about me is that I lived on three continents before I was 18 years old. Wow. I know, I'm interesting. I thought your fun fact might be that you had also done improv on a spaceship or something. Nope, not yet. Really quickly, how many people have done anything in the realm of improvisation? Just a show of hands, great! Wonderful, we have one person that's gonna get exposed to it, so welcome and thank you for being great. But has been doing improv because you're living in the world. Yes, you have been. Wonderful, just wanted to know. How many people, just by show of hands, do a good bit of public speaking in their jobs? Great, perfect, just nod. Thank you Jim. DJ Jim on the ones and twos ladies and gentlemen. Great, let's talk a little bit about Speechless. Speechless started about five years ago here in San Francisco. As I mentioned briefly, a minute ago, it started as a show. Basically, it came down to me being in a work environment that I had never been in, where people were actually doing real work, real jobs and was the first time I'd ever seen people doing PowerPoint presentations. People were so unprepared for them, that I: one thought, hey, my acting and teaching experience, maybe I could help people with this because it seems like it's hard, and I hadn't done it in that capacity before either, I was taking note of how difficult it looked like it could be and two, it didn't look like anyone knew what the slides were gonna be at any point. No one ever knew what their slides were and every time they clicked through, they'd just kinda look back, I don't know why I looked at the whiteboard, the screens over here. I just didn't look like they knew what was coming next and I thought, that would be a really interesting premise for a comedy show, where comedians and improvisers and maybe people from different industries could actually get up and improvise presentations they've never seen before. That's how we started five years ago as Speechless Live, the name of our show. Speechless Live is licensed all over the world. It's been done in four different language and it turned into what we're doing here today, which is part of our Speechless Learn division of the company where we focus on training, using improvisation and applying it to the workplace, specifically improvisation. We basically take something that you find joy out of and passion and combine it with your work and that's why our Venn Diagram logo is what it is. It's intersecting what you are when you're at work and what you are when you're not at work because we're not really the same person in those two places, but how do we find that sweet spot so we can be the most authentic version of ourselves? Some of the things that we've been doing over the years, besides the show, like I said, is going around and doing these trainings and there's just some really simple stats about how long we've been doing this, we've done it on every continent except for Antarctica. I do not know why they will not jump on board. They will no answer any of our calls, but we do the show so many different places, so many different ways and with so many amazing organizations and companies. Those are just some of our clients. We work with these organizations, whether it's universities or corporations in a multitude of ways. We work with people one-on-one, preparing them for actual presentations, entrepreneur investor pitches, keynotes, whatever it may be, all the way from one person to teams up to entire organizations where we try to reboot their presentation process and try to create a more communication centered culture. Those are just some of the people that we've worked with.

Class Description

For many people, public speaking is downright scary. When they’re given the task of making a speech or presentation at work or in their personal life, they’re overcome with dread and anxiety, worried that they’ll fail and make a fool of themselves.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Not only can you learn to be a confident, effective and relaxed public speaker, you can even have fun in the process. This course uses improvisational thinking to give you the tools to not only be a great speaker, but also a better leader, team player, listener, storyteller and more authentic version of yourself.

This course is taught by Kimberly MacLean and Sammy Wegent of Speechless, a groundbreaking organization that helps companies bring more creativity and comedy to their business communications. Both Kimberly and Sammy have extensive experience as actors, comedians, instructors and presenters, and are eager to help you put a little show business into your business.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Use improvisational thinking and methodology in your public speaking.
  • Get over your fear of public speaking and build confidence.
  • Do physical and linguistic exercises to loosen you up.
  • Take creative risks.
  • Create structure for your presentations.
  • Utilize improvisational best practices.
  • Add fun and comedy to your speeches and presentations.


jared polivka

This course was amazing! I learned so much about how to be a better public speaker - from body language, to tone, to adding color and advancing my story, to personally connecting with the audience, to finishing strong, etc. I learned so much. I highly recommend Sammy and Kimberly's course. This class has real exercises that you can practice solo and as a group. If you want to be more comfortable, confident and become a better speaker... this is the class :) Enjoy it!


I learned so much from this course! Public speaking can be such a stressful situation but these tips help you to relax and have fun. I highly recommend this course.

Guy Samuel

Short, focused and entertaining! These tips and exercises are easy to understand and easy to apply to your everyday life. Definitely recommended.