Improv Asylum Corporate Training

The Global Leaders in Innovative and Effective Training


This is Norm b ' b He's the guy that talks

He’s a performer and director who’s been producing sketch comedy theatre for over 20 years. He’s the Founder and CEO of Improv Asylum with venues in both Boston and New York. He helped create Laugh Boston,

a comedy club and events venue in Boston's Seaport District. He’s also a partner in Worcester’s WooHaHa! Comedy Club.

Norm is a performer, director, producer, writer, and girls softball coach. He helped create the nationally acclaimed Laugh Boston in the Seaport District. He is a partner in over a dozen comedy and entertainment businesses in NewEngland and beyond. Norm grew up in the blue collar mill town of Grafton, MA. He attended UMass Amherstwith the intent of pursuing a careerwith the StateDepartment. He decided to pursue comedy instead, which really is not that far off from government work. Today, Norm is a happy man. In addition to managing the multi-million-dollar business he helped build from the ground up, Norm provides corporate training, workshops, and keynote speeches around the globe. He evenwrote a book about it. And not only is it funny, it is also short. Much like him.

People follow energy and passion; they don’t necessarily follow ideas. We want to create a culture that allows ideas to flourish. Really, what we’re talking about is the ability to listen to somebody else and to turn off your own prejudging, your own preconceived notions and just listen for a little while and then have the courage to put your ideas on top of it. What we know in the idea phase when we work together is that if we’re going to constantly shoot ideas down at the very beginning, it’s got nowhere to go. You have the courage to start an idea, to get it out–and that takes a lot–there’s a million ways to create ideas. I’m not as interested in that. What I’m far more interested in is building cultures of people that want to work together. What we know is that when we question something it can be another form of negation. We’ve created a culture that’s said its okay. And, if you do that, if you create cultures that lets ideas get out there and flourish by listening to each other, you can do amazing things.”


Our approach and method will focus on and demonstrate how to build off of others' ideas on the spot. We will examine the power of saying “Yes” versus the power of saying “No”, and we will ultimately introduce the concept of "Yes, and…" - that is, to listen and truly understand someone else and then build off of their idea. We will explore listening skills and “reading” a group

(whether it’s an individual or a full team) and we will demonstrate how to communicate more effectively. We will show how all of this relates to teamwork, communication skills and innovation –with the goal of providing concrete skills to reach better solutions and to achieve more effective results.


Train Your Mind To Think On Its Feet

An improv group is an ensemble, and they have to work collaboratively in a pressurized environment to move a story forward to its logical (or outrageous) conclusion. That means listening carefully to the offering put forward by one member of the group and bui lding on its essence to keep the thread al ive.

Virtual Training, for 2020 and Beyond...

ImprovAsylum'sCorporateTrainingprogramswerebeingdeliveredaroundtheworld, and we can't wait to to travel again. But for now, we've translated the experience to a virtual format, so your teams will have access to the same interactive, innovative, and truly fun training programs. It doesn’t matter if you all can’t be together: your organization isn't stopping. So offer your team insightful training programs that will help you all stay on the same page, increase morale and continue working, no matter what the world is throwing your way. Shift your focus on teamwork, culture, and learning to communicate more effectively while while working remotely. Not to brag , but we've got Virtual Trainings figured out. In an unbelievably short time, companies around the world have been forced to reimagine how they do business. The challenge of working remotely has forced us all to evaluate how we approach the very nature of "work." How do organizations who prioritize their corporate culture maintain the values they've worked so hard to develop?

Our innovative training programs can integrate with however your organization is working: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Semaphore... we got you covered.

Looking for a quick 15-minute boost of energy to kick off a morning meeting? How about a deeper dive to help everyone communicate and listen more effectively? Need some solutions for issues that are specific to your team? What about for a way to offer Diversity and Inclusion programming that's fun and informative?

Ormaybeyou're looking for somethingcompletelyunique -we’vegot theexperience to help you create a program that's right for you.

Improv Asylum has provided corporate and leadership training to organizations including Intel, Google, PwC, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Companies are making big investments in training and education, and moving more and more to outside providers.

What can improv teach worker bees? The secret is in the “yes, and” ethos. When they're collaborating onstage, improv performers never reject one another's ideas—they say “yes, and” to accept and build upon each new contribution. It's a total philosophy of creativity. “Yes, and” creates, while “no” stops the flow.

Getting to “Yes, And” : How improv comedy skills became a must-have for entrepreneurs.

“The energy in the space was outstanding. Everyone left feeling energized, motivated, and inspired to do their work better.” MEI LI ZHOU Parnterships Specialist at General Assembly Boston

Business is typically no laughing matter, but could comedic improv be used to improve office communication?

Companies are using comedy to help their employees overcome those issues. They are hiring improv instructors to train their employees to become better listeners, collaborators andmanagers. These skills are particularly useful in office brainstorming sessions, where employees may be too shy to f loat their ideas or worried that their idea isn’t the best one. “‘Yes, and’ is about giving over your idea,” said Norm Laviolette, President and Founder of Improv Asylum. “It’s saying I have the courage to start an idea and let it get changed. As a manager, you are far more powerful if you can learn to work with everyone else’s ideas and move them forward.” Consumer robot maker, iRobot, hired Improv Asylum to host a half-day class for a gathering of its global product management team in June. Many of the employees on the team had never met before and the company was looking for a way to break the ice and ease any cultural barriers. “We got to know each other on a human level, which helped us collaborate,” said Ken Bazydola, iRobot’s director of product management. Since then, the team has been using the techniques they learned from the “Yes, and” exercise in their meetings. “It ’s amazing what you can come up with even if the initial idea is crazy, there is a kernel of opportunity you can build upon.”

Why every boss should take an improv class... Unproductive meetings, bad leadership and poor communication in the office are no laughing matter. bad leadership

I’m a firm believer that being able to think on your feet, react in the right way in situations and be creative under pressure are vital skills for any marketer.


We had a group of about 75 from different offices in the US and abroad, who work together heavily by email, but many had not met each other before. The IA facilitators were great at getting them all interacting with each other, practicing building on each other, and tailored their style to a mix of extroverts and introverts, both those quick to volunteer, and those who appreciate being voluntold. My event team could feel us building great “glue” for our work together in the future.” Improv Asylum did such a great job bringing my team together and setting them up to work together better in the future.

JOHN C. S. ANDERSON Global Head of Corporate Finance & Infrastructure

recommend Improv Asylum to anyone in the corporate world who is trying to find a unique way to help leaders build on their teamwork, listening skills, communication and camaraderie! The techniques used were very effective and educational while being fun for everyone! Even the people who were most skeptical came away surprised and happy that we used the experts at Improv Asylum to bolster our team dynamics for future success!”

SUSANNA FIER VP Public Affairs & Marketing

"We brought in Improv Asylum as a part of our Annual Sales Meeting to bring

to life. We were looking for a way to increase communication and collaboration across teams, eliminate silos and give people tools and techniques to listen and build off of each other’s ideas. We wanted to do something different that got everyone involved and engaged in a fun yet educational way. We met with the Improv team to make sure they understood our needs and our business. They listened and ensured they would be aligned with what we wanted to accomplish. Improv was an ideal solution and the content was spot on. Although people were a bit intimidated and somewhat skeptical at first because they did not know what to expect, their fears were quickly diminished as soon as we got into small groups, engaged with the outstanding facilitators and got to work. People are still talking about it and have mentioned using “yes, and” as they engage in discussions with different points of view. It was a perfect way to end the day and the meeting with high energy, camaraderie and learning!” “A Culture of Meaningful Participation”

LISA CIAMPOLILLO Head of Talent, Welch’s Foods


Not to brag but we have been hired by some incredible organizations…from Fortune 500 companies to Start Ups to leading Educational Institutions… and have brought our impactful and engaging (yeah, we mean fun…think smiles!) programs to just about every corner of the globe.


While each organization and location have their own culture, needs and style, we have found that they all have one thing in common. Whether the location is Boston, Berlin or Beijing, every organization wants us to help them lift their teams up, to help them encourage everyone’s ideas and to help them to be stronger TOGETHER… That is what we do! And...we love to travel!


The Google team in London wanted help with giving their teams the tools that they need to continue to succeed. Creative skills to actively listen to their clients, co-workers and management, to communicate ideas succinctly and to embrace and encourage everyone’s ideas so that every voice is heard and valued.

IA Innovation delivered the goods and the fun and London was never the same again. Now, everyone is listening!

We have also worked with Googlers in Boston, New York and Dublin. We love Google! We love everyone! Hire’ll see!

We were hired by Nokia to create and develop a multi-location program for their leadership teams throughout the world. Over the course of a few years, we visited and delivered INNOVATION in Helsinki, Edinburgh, Lenggries, Munich, and Amsterdam to name a few and Dubai was pretty cool. Humble brag… it was incredible! Nokia hired us to bring together leaders that represented just about every region that Nokia covered. Which is just about everywhere! These leaders never met each other before but all shared the same responsibility for their teams. We helped create that common bond, helped facilitate a message, environment and culture where everyone learned new and effective ways of communicating together as well as explored how others do their job, the same job, in a totally different culture.



LinkedIn asked us to come to Dublin (ok...if we have to!) to help give their EMEA leadership new and innovative tools to use to lift up their teams so that everyone is listening, communicating and trusting and building off of each other’s ideas. If we say “Yes ... And” then we can all connect with anyone and build a stronger and more creative team! Dublin is like home to us and LinkedIn is a powerhouse! Talk about connecting!

Shanghai CHINA

That is what the “Primos” of Bacardi believe in and what drives them to be the best at what they do. We were asked to travel to Shanghai

Fearless, AFounder’s Mentality, and Family. (Just past San Francisco, make a left over Mt. Fuji in Japan and you are there!)

and help their international leaders drive those elements home to their teams. We also brought the FUN as we gave the leadership team new tools to think about encouraging everyone in the organization to bring their best every day. One team, one family! By the way, if you ever get the chance, Shanghai is absolutely and incredibly beautiful!

Accenture Alaska Air American Student Assistance Arnold Worldwide Athena Health Avalon Bay Babson College BAE Systems Bain & Co. Bank of America Biogen Idec Booz Allen

General Electric Genzyme Gillette Glaxo Smith Kline Globoforce Goodwin Procter Google

Portsmouth Abbey School Prudential Putnam Investments PwC Radio Shack Rapid7 Raytheon Red Bull Roger Williams University SAIC Saint Gobain Sales Force Sanofi Sanofi Genzyme Sapient Shawmut Design SilverLink Simmons College Sloan Smuggler’s Notch Speechwork International Staples Starwood Resorts State Street Bank State Street Global Advisors

Greenburg Traurig Guinness Imports Hanover Insurance Harvard Business School Harvard JFK School of Government Harvard School of Law Harvard University

Boston Celtics Boston College Boston Duck Tours

Heineken HubSpot IDX Corporation Imagitas Intel Intercontinental Hotel Intergen Intuit Jaegermeister SA John Hancock Kaiser Permanente Kind Snacks LinkedIn Lockheed Martin

Boston Medical Center Boston Public Schools Boston Red Sox Boston University Boston University School of Management Brandeis University Bristol-Meyers Squibb Carl Zeiss Charles River Associates Children’s Hospital Choate Hall & Stewart Chubb Citizen’s Bank


Stonehill College Storage Networks Sun Life

Coca Cola Constant Contact Continuum Converse Curry College Dana Farber Darling Consulting Group The David Project Dellaria Salons Deloitte Delta Airlines Thompson Financial Treetop Technologies Twitter Unilever United Way United States Bankruptcy Court United States District Court Verizon Vertex Web Summit Dublin and UK Welch’s Foods Wellesley College Wentworth Institute of Technology WestJet WGBH Wheelock College William Fry WilliamsMarston Winter Wyman Worcester Polytechnic Institute Wyeth Bio Pharma YMCA of Greater Boston Take a look at some of the folks we have worked with. Dunkin Donuts Dunkin Brands Eastern Bank Eli Lilly EMC2 EMD Millipore EMD Serono Exact Target Experian QAS Facebook Fidelity FirstBlood Fleet Center Flo Design Wind Turbine Forrester Research GameStop LoJack Mass College of Pharmacy Mass Mutual Massachusetts Bar Association Massachusetts General Hospital McDonalds Merck Research Laboratories Millenium Millipore MIT Engineering Leadership MIT Global Education and Career Development MIT Laboratory of Multi Scale Regenerative Technologies MIT Medical MIT Residential Life Mohegan Sun Needham Public Schools Nokia Northeastern University Novartis Nuance Communications Oxfam Partners Health Care PayPal Philip’s Health Care Philip’s Lighting Phoenix Group Plymouth State University Telefluent Teradyne Textron Thermo Fischer Scientific

Nobody knows anything. The longer my career continues, the more I am certain of this. People think they know shit. They have ideas about things. They have thoughts and theories, hypotheses, and past studies. Yet the more things I do and the longer I do them, I have come to discover that most everybody is making shit up on the fly. And that is a good thing. No longer do you have to feel that creating something is the domain of chosen virtuososwhohave either been tappedby thegods or spent all of their time studying in their chosen field with the most eminent teachers available to them. If you have access to either of those things, then good for you. For the rest of us, sucking is the first step to greatness. Or at least mediocrity. Mediocrity leads to proficiency, proficiency leads to mastery, and mastery leads to excellence. It is heartening to know that the best of the best sucked at one point. If you're looking for motivation, here's Norm's pep talk: Become an Unstoppable Powerhouse This is Norm Laviolette’s Magnum Opus, published in 2019 by Wiley. It contains the best advice he could come up with after 20+ years in the business, but it won’t teach you how to become an improv star. Instead, Norm demonstrates how the skills of improv can be used in business to build teams, move ideas forward and achieve innovative results.

Performances like these don't happen by shutting down ideas. Enjoy a little zen from our Boston and NYC shows.

Improv performers don’t have the luxury of rejecting each others’ ideas.

The art of corporate communication should work the same way. When a team member throws you a line, you have to go with it. Somewhere in there, you have to find a concept you can build on to keep the scene moving forward.


This is Bob b ' b He's the guy to talk to

Bob Melley is Managing Director of IA Innovation and is ready to give you all the information and details of what we are all about, who we are and why we, and our programs, are the best in the world. From groups of 6 to 5,000,… interns, new hires, management to C-Suite… Bob and the team can craft any program to fit any agenda, objective and budget. Having led his own businesses over the years, and as a partner in multiple entertainment venues, Bob also knows what your team and organization may need to continue to lead in its space. Bob is pretty much available 24/7, so give him a shout! Let’s Create Your Own Innovative Experience

BOB MELLEY 212.203.5435

508.726.1968 cell

Corporate Training Questionnaire

Company Name:_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Contact Name:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Telephone Number:_________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Email Address:_ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Date and Time of Event:_ __________________________________________________________________________________________________ Event Location:_ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Description of Event:_ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What interactions do the participants have with each other and/or with outside clients/customers/prospects? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ What level(s)/positions are the participants (i.e. are they all managers, are there different jobs/levels represented)?_ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Are there any issues that we should be aware of?_____________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Is there anything you specifically want us to address (or to avoid) during the session? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Is there anything else you think we should know prior to the training session (e.g. attitudes, key people, things that have not worked in the past, etc.)_ ________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Would you be interested in adding a customized corporate show or tickets to a main stage show? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Expected attendance at Event:___________________________________________________________________________________________ Do the people at the Event all work together?_ _______________________________________________________________________

Description of Company and type of Business:________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ What are your goals for the training (e.g. teamwork, communication, sales skills, brainstorming, presentation skills, customer service)? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Do the participants currently work together or separately? If they work together, in what capacity? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please return by email to IA Innovation at least one week before the scheduled event to:

The Global Leaders in Innovative and Effective Training

BOB MELLEY 212.203.5435 508.726.1968 cell (24/7)

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