Want To Be a Better Business Communicator?

Women make better corporate leaders than men, according to a recent study by the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics. The study found that women business leaders make fairer decisions, are more considerate and are better collaborators. So, given the results of this study, why do women make up only nine percent of corporate board members worldwide?

Women, particularly those who own their own businesses, are great at making well-thought-out decisions and collaborating with others. But we need to do a better job of communicating who we are, what we do and why we're just as good (or better) at something than the guy in the tie. Whether I'm trying to land a new client or bring value to a team, I follow the principles of improvisational comedy to communicate more effectively and grow my business. The best part about the principles of improv? You don't need to be the least bit funny (and my husband often assures me I'm not).

For those of you who aren't familiar with improv, here are the principles:


All ideas are a gift. If someone approaches you with an idea and your first instinct is to shoot it down because it won't work, try hearing the person out instead. Accepting all ideas does not mean executing all ideas.


Say yes to an idea and then build on it. Have you got a business idea bouncing around in your head that you keep pushing away, thinking, "That's dumb, I couldn't possibly do that"? If you do, flip your perspective. Say yes to the idea then build it out to see if it's truly feasible. Saying yes to an idea allows it (and you) to reach full potential.


Strive to create and be part of environments where judgment is deferred. When you're in a meeting, make it clear that no egos are allowed. No one person is better than the person they're sitting next to. If you feel you have something to add to the conversation, speak up and allow others to do the same.


Allow people, including yourself, to communicate in the ways they are most comfortable. If you're an introvert who prefers to stay out of the spotlight, let people know that you'll be communicating primarily via email or in private meetings. Remind people that the focus should be on the success of the outcome – not on any one person's need to be the centre of attention.


Routine is comfortable and necessary, but change is inevitable. Don't look at change as an interruption of something reliable and consistent. See it as an exciting exploration of what's next. I no longer worry about the "what ifs" in life. Instead I respond appropriately to the changes taking place here and now.


Finally, and most importantly: declare who you are, what you do, and your point of view loudly, quickly and clearly. Have clarity, confidence and purpose.

When an improv actor or actress is on stage and is thrown a curveball by a rowdy audience, they don't stop to overanalyze the situation or feel bad about themselves for speaking up. They grab hold of the idea, say yes to it, and build on it. They allow their fellow actors to also build on the idea and they don't worry about what's going to happen next. They need to focus on getting to the end of the sketch with a big punchline at the end.

Every business interaction, from sales to negotiations to meetings, can be improved with the principles of improv. And, with a little practice and the right celebratory attitude, you can declare something like this: I'm Lynne Morioka. I'm a writer, content strategist and social media specialist. I will help you strategically tell the stories of your businesses, brands, products and services and I will help you disseminate stories effectively across platforms. I can declare hat loudly and proudly because I said, "Yes, and..."

Spend less time judging, negating and figuring out what's wrong with things. Say yes and celebrate.

Lynne Morioka  |  www.SocialVisibilityConsulting.com
Lynne Morioka founded Social Visibility Consulting in 2005. She has a background in journalism and public relations and 15 years of experience encompassing writing, editing, communications, PR and social media. She helps businesses find their voices, effectively express who they are and inspire action. Her passion is writing — in its many forms and for any medium. She is a “word nerd” of the highest order.