Start with a Yes

I recently finished two great books. Bossypants by Tina Fey and Girl Walks into a Bar... by Rachel Dratch (You know. Debbie Downer? womp womp). Both authors touched upon the top rule of improvisation, which I think is great. SAY YES.

As Tina Fey explains it:

“SAY YES. When you’re improvising, this means you are required to agree with whatever your partner has created. So if we’re improvising and I say, ‘Freeze, I have a gun,’ and you say ‘That’s not a gun. It’s your finger. You’re pointing your finger at me,’ our improvised scene has ground to a halt. But if I say, ‘Freeze, I have a gun!’ and you say, ‘The gun I gave you for Christmas! You bastard!’ then we have started a scene because we have AGREED that my finger is in fact a Christmas gun.

Now, obviously in real life you’re not always going to agree with everything everyone says. But the Rule of Agreement reminds you to “respect what your partner has created” and to at least start from an open-minded place. Start with a YES and see where that takes you.”

This rule resonated with me because it applies to the world of advertising as well. Concepting big ideas is a lot like improvising. It is about being open to your partner's ideas and running with them to see where they take you. And not shooting them down too quickly, because sometimes ideas that seem ridiculous at first can turn into something fantastic.

Later, I realized that this actually applies to real life too. I think we can all afford to say “yes” more often. To say "yes" to the next road trip, the next night out, the next race, the next job offer, the next party, the next date... Fact is, more exciting and fantastic things are going to happen to you if you say yes. Or as Rachel Dratch put it, “No leads to dead ends, and yes leads to possibilities."

I leave you with one last quote from Tina Fey that I thought was too great to not make into a poster:

So tell me, when someone asks you to go out tonight, what are you going to say?