Ask a small group of participants to stand in a line in the playing area.
Once up, explain they are going to take turns speaking extemporaneously about something they would like to change about their lives that is also within their control. Essentially, a New Year's Resolution.
Prepare participants by asking them to pick a resolution they sincerely are interested in and have thought about. Warn against picking something funny over something sincere. If a participant can't think of something they would like to change, they can select any subject they feel passionate about. (For example, a sports team they are a large fan of.)
As the instructor, you decide who speaks and for how long by pointing. Pick one participant randomly and allow them to start speaking. After they've introduced their resolution and some implications of it (maybe 40-60 seconds worth) switch to a new participant by pointing at them. Proceed through participants randomly returning to each participant 2-3 times.
If you notice some signal that they've run out of things to say, see if you can push them to say more by remaining on them. Often this will result in the sharing of funny or uniquely striking ideas. If it does, be sure to compliment it later.
Be generally celebratory when noting this exercise. It is meant to build confidence and belief in the value of one's thoughts and experiences. Point out that if you focus on only sharing ideas you deem unique or original, you'll end up second guessing yourself and freezing. This is often why improvisers freeze in scenes. Point out that what seems mundane or obvious to you, may only seem that way because it is your experience. Of course your experiences and thoughts seem obvious to you. To others they may be revelatory.
This exercise is not usually run with the same participants more than once.
For more insight into improv's application to professional development, visit RA's corporate workshop page.
I Resolve is a good exercise for loosening a group up and getting them ready to improvise, often utilized in the first 30 minutes of workshops focused on:
Number of Participants:
Minimum: 3 participants / Maximum: 7 participants
Minimum: 5-10 minutes
You might try the below adjustments when leading this exercise:
Ask participants to speak about things they love or are passionate about instead of a resolution.
Ask participants to speak about pet peeves instead of a resolution.
Try switching between speakers at a much faster pace, giving each speaker as little as 5-10 seconds to contribute.
Ask speakers to pithy, keeping their contributions to 7 words or less before switching to a new speaker.
Ask participants to build on each other, reflecting and remarking on each other's contributions when it is their turn to speak.
Ask participants to select when they will speak by clearing their throats when they are ready rather than using the pointing device.
Instructor Talking Points
Because this exercise asks participants to share true aspirations, it's great for helping groups get to know each other better. Be sure to highlight moments that you thought were particularly brave, illustrative of a person's character, or interesting when noting the exercise. Do this in a celebratory fashion in order to reinforce the notion that individuals in this group are celebrated for what they bring to the table.
See Other Team Building Improv Games
Point out that participants do not need to reinvent the wheel in order to be good at this exercise. Instead, sharing what comes naturally can be a great gift! Point out that what seems mundane or obvious to you, may only seem that way because it is born of your experience. Of course, your experiences and thoughts seem obvious to you! To others, they may be revelatory.
Applied Mantra: Remember, Don't Invent
A large part of creativity is relying on what occurs to you. You cannot jump out of yourself when being creative in order to have ideas that are different from your own. Rather than second-guessing or seeking to improve what occurs to, rely on it. By sharing your ideas you may inspire others, hit on an unexpected solution, or help underline an existing problem in a new way. No one can be expected to have all the answers all the time, but members of a team are always most valuable when they participate fully.