2022 CP Yen Foundation Dialogue Newsletter  Summer  issue

“How Improv Skills Strengthen the Power of Dialogue”
by Izzy Gesell

From <The Power of Dialogue- Conversations with Masters> series

( summary by Keli Yen, graphic recorder: Grace Wang)

How can improvisation skills be helpful for dialogue practitioners?  That’s the topic of the discussion with Izzy Gesell , a “Power of Dialogue: conversation with Masters” webinar held by the CP Yen Foundation on 6 June 2022. This article highlights the activities and insights facilitated by Izzy during the webinar.

Improvisation means to do something unplanned, using whatever is available in the moment.  For Izzy, “improvisation is the result of a practice that allows you to stay present and grounded in the moment, but open to all possibilities.  Like mindfulness, it’s a simple practice that’s useful for responding to the reality of the moment.” Improv helps you to become more agile, quick and creative, in your thinking.  “When I worked as a stand-up comic, I discovered that we can all become masters of managing a group’s energy.  Both improv and dialogue are gifts, and they both have some restrictions.”  The first activity gave us an example of how restrictions can be a useful tool.

Activity 1: “6 Word Offering”

Instructions: Using only 6 words, tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you.  For example, “I used to own a restaurant”. 


  • Restrictions can be a gift – these 6 words force us to think more creatively.
  • Boundaries can be useful guidelines – the topic focuses the creativity and gives an inspiring starting point – which is a useful boundary.
  • Self-talk is powerful – When you become aware of what your self-talk is, you become aware of what your boundaries and assumptions are.  Improv counteracts self-talk because it increases your curiosity about what might happen next, and this forces you to let go of your assumptions.  The beauty of improvisation is that our spontaneous reaction reveals our true selves without judgement.

When improvisation is applied in a group dynamic all participants become both leaders and followers at alternating times.  When it’s one’s turn to speak you’re in total control of what direction the dialogue will go.  When it’s another’s turn to speak, then you have no control, you just follow their choices.

Activity 2: “One Word at a Time”

Instructions: We’re going to make up a story, and we want to do this just by going back and forth with each person saying just one word at a time. 


  • Izzy: “Notice how much a team effort it was to listen to one another, even letting each other make adjustments to the rules.  Improv teaches that there’s the immediate goal of the restriction, but it was not the ultimate goal – which was the dialogue.  We were totally in dialogue. 
  • Participants: “The improv restrictions forces me to respect the other person’s imagination; I’m not used to dealing with such uncertainty.”  Izzy replied that discomfort with uncertainty is a common experience to both improv and dialogue, as both force participants to take a position of welcoming and receiving whatever happens with openness rather than judgement.
  • More participant reflections:
    • Curiosity weaved the story together
    • I was eager to listen to the next word. and I was puzzled to guess what she meant to say…
    • Interesting feelings, hoping partner will get the direction you are thinking. sometimes yes, sometimes no. always trusting the process and the person. A lot of fun!
    • My partner shared a great and new thing!  And I enjoyed a funny and positive dialogue!  Creative, vision and cheer up! 
    • My partner and I used Mandarin making this dialogue much easier, creative and fun.

Activity 3: “Yes, BUT” or “Yes, AND”

Insights from participants after playing the game:

  • Izzy: “Yes, AND” is the attitude that anything is possible.  “Yes, BUT” is the practical and reality focused. Or problem solving.  Really notice for yourself what emotions come up for you when you play this game.  Your feelings will change the more you practice the game.
  • Izzy: The Yes, BUT/AND – game restrictions begin as limits, then can become opportunities to explore both as opportunities for insights forcing oneself to see differences without requiring a solution, which facilitates profound understanding To continue a conversation requires presence and listening skills
  • With “Yes, BUT” I felt that we wasted time talking and didn’t have a result.
  • BUT is such a strong word…
  • The dialogue needs active listening to focus on the contents.
  • The “Yes, BUT” exchange reminds me of my normal project planning conversation at work.
  • The conversation needs someone to take responsibility to “start" in the room.
  • “Yes, BUT” = everybody is not so happy.  When we turned to “Yes, AND” then everybody is so happy to talk and have many ideas.
  • “Yes, AND" allowed our group to come up with many creative ideas which made us so excited!!! “"Yes, but" just the opposite.

Activity 4: “Rant”


  • Player 1 has one minute to “rant” on a topic of their own choosing.
  • Player 2 listens without responding or interjecting
  • After 1 minute, Player 2 describes what positive characteristics, values or traits Player 1 demonstrated through the rant
  • Player 1 thanks Players 2 for the insights
  • Player 2 then takes their turn to “rant”
  • Players then debrief

Insights from participants:

  • It feels empowering to be heard.
  • Player 2 should listen from the perspective of trying to find out what Player 1’s positive characteristics, values and purpose are. 
  • By having a positive perspective – it serves as a shield to protect you from getting swept up in the negative commentary.  
  • All the activities introduced today are great to apply in any dialogue experience.  They facilitate insights on what could make a better and more fruitful dialogue.
  • This activity reminds me of a non-violent communication exercise of listening to your enemy’s best intention.

THE APPLIED IMPROV -DIALOGUE CONNECTION (reflections from participants)

  • Adding improv as a contextual piece for dialogue is a way to highlight the opportunities and impact of our parameters. Including sharing the assumptions that affect choices at any time.
  • Starting and sharing a story from one’s heart.
  • I won’t set restrictions, limitations or assumptions in the dialogue.  Always keep open mind.
  • The distinction between Improv and dialogue, allow play and then reflection / insights from those experiences – then taking that into dialogue and again reflection/insights on the “feel" of the dialogue.
  • Human are hardwired to judge.  Improv suspends our judgmental impulses and that is what a good dialogue needs-suspending judgement
  • Think of both Improv & Dialogue as  Mission–driven, Goal-directedTeam activities,

Where each participant is, at various times, both leader and follower( by Izzy)

  • Relevant Qualities of Applied Improv to Dialogue( by Izzy)
    • Presence – Always be in/ or return to this moment
    • Acceptance- Differentiate between “acceptance” & agreement
    • Trust- Believe in the process, Suspend judgement
    • Spontaneity- changes, surprise, pivots are to be expected

Participant reflections on what will you start doing, continue doing or stop doing?

  • Seeing my Yes, But or Yes, And attitude as facets of my whole self.
  • Start listening as much as I can, playing Improv with friends again (any types of games) & taking pause to have fun; Stop running too fast to the goals.
  • Start: doing “Serious-Play”. Stop: being “Playing Seriously”.
  • Start: using games like these to encourage the quiet ones in a group to share. Stop: allowing group meetings to finish without hearing everyone’s insights.
  • Hold my tongue when I am listening to the tough dialogue or people and to hear the higher purpose. Help myself to move from Yes, But to Yes, And.
  • 1. Be focus on a dialogue, follow the flow, and look for good intention, 2. No boundary in restriction, 3. Be more flexible in coaching dialogue and look for intention or real need in the words which clients said, 4. Stop being too restricted in dialogue.
  • How to avoid the game becoming awkward? Izzy’s reply: it’s awkward because the game is about vulnerability.  It’s important to make volunteering really voluntary.  So usually I just wait until people are ready to volunteer. Or I ask them to reflect on their self-talk.  Many times, people don’t volunteer because they don’t want to be surprised.  Impromptu helps you to separate comfort and safety being mutually dependent.

One word to describe tonight’s experiences as  closing                    

Wow, Amazing, Fun, Productive, Breakthrough, Gift, Appreciation, Play, Relaxing, Learning, Energy, Laugh, Thanks, Insightful, Wonderful, Surprise, Inspirational, Cool, Educational, Reconnect, Powerful.


《即興的技巧如何強化對話力》與大師葛賽爾(Izzy Gesell)的對談


即興的技巧如何幫助對話推動者?這是朝邦文教基金會於2022年6月6日所舉辦的大師系列線上論壇中,大師葛賽爾(Izzy Gessell)討論的主題。本文將節錄這場由葛賽爾引導的線上論壇中的精彩活動與洞察。


活動16 Word Offering 六個字的句子

說明:請用六個字告訴我們一件大家不知道的事。比方說,「I used to own a restaurant (我曾經經營一家餐廳)。」


  • 限制也是一種禮物 六個字強迫我們用更多創意來思考
  • 界線也是有用的指引 – 主題將焦點放在創意上,讓我們在起始點上就充滿啟發 – 這本身就是很有用的界線
  • 自我對話相當震撼 – 當你覺察到你的自我對話,就能察覺到你的界線與假設。即興算是制衡你的自我對話,讓你更有好奇心,更想知道接下來會發生什麼事,因此讓你放下你的假設。即興最棒的地方就是我們自發性的反應顯露出真正的自己,少了批判


活動 2One Word at a Time一次一個字



  • 葛賽爾:「請注意到彼此聆聽其實是一個團隊的協作,即使讓其他人調整規則也是。即興教我們的,是限制帶來的是立即目標,卻不是最終的目標 – 目標是對話。我們完全在對話。
  • 參與者:「即興的限制強迫我們尊重其他人的想像力。對這樣的不確定感,我不是很習慣。」 Izzy回覆表示,對於不確定感的不自在是很常見的經驗,不只是在即興,對話也是,因為兩者都制約著參與者以歡迎與接納的態度,開放的態度,不批判的心情來迎接所有發生的事
  • 更多參與者的反思:
    • 好奇心編織起這個故事
    • 我很懇切地聆聽下一個字,也很疑惑,想要猜測她想說的意思…
    • 有趣的感覺,希望夥伴能夠感受到你心目中想走的方向,有時候會,有時候不會,但是就是相信這個過程,相信對方,很好玩!
    • 我的夥伴分享了一個很棒、很新的東西!我經歷了很好玩、正向的對話!創意,願景,心情很好!
    • 我的夥伴跟我用國語交流,讓整個對話更輕鬆、有創意、有趣

活動 3 Yes, BUT 是的,但是」 Yes, AND 是的,而且」


  • Izzy: 「Yes, AND」的態度就是所有的事都有可能。「Yes, BUT」則是將焦點放在實際面、現實面,或是解決問題的角度。玩這個遊戲的時候,要非常注意你所感應到的情緒。你練習越多,你的感覺會有所改變。
  • Izzy:Yes, BUT/AND – 遊戲的限制一開始是限制,但是慢慢成為探索的契機,以及洞察的契機,強迫大家看到彼此的差異,但是不尋找解決方案,這樣帶來非常深度的理解。要持續對談就需要聚焦當下以及聆聽的技巧。
  • 在「Yes, BUT」階段時,我覺得我們的討論只是浪費時間,沒有結果。
  • BUT 是一個很強烈的字…
  • 對話需要積極地聆聽,才能聚焦於內容上
  • 「Yes, BUT」這一段讓我想到工作時規劃計畫時的談話
  • 對談需要一個人在裡面負責「開始」
  • 「Yes, BUT」 = 每個人都不是很開心。當我們轉換成「Yes, AND」大家就開心起來,因此激發出很多的想法
  • 「Yes, AND」讓我們這一群想出很多充滿創意的點子,讓我們超級振奮!!「Yes, but」卻剛好相反

活動 4 “Rant” 抱怨


  • 玩家 1 用1分鐘的時間不停地抱怨自己選的主題
  • 玩家 2 聆聽,不回應不插嘴
  • 1分鐘過後,玩家 2 點出這段期間玩家1所展現的正面個性、價值或特質
  • 玩家1 感謝玩家 2 提供的洞察
  • 接下來換玩家2 抱怨自己的主題
  • 玩家一起回顧活動


  • 被聽到的感覺,是充滿力量的感覺
  • 玩家 2聆聽的角度,應該是努力找到玩家 1的正向性格、價值、目的
  • 因為保持正向的觀點 – 就成為一個防護盾牌,保護你不要被負面的評論打擊
  • 今天介紹的所有活動都很適合所有對話的體驗,他們激發出重要的洞察,促進更好、更有收穫的對話
  • 這個活動讓我想到非暴力溝通裡的練習 – 聆聽敵人最好的意圖的練習

即興對話連結的應用 (參與者的反思)

  • 將即興技巧作為對話中的情境元素,可以突顯出設定的範疇內所呈現的機會與影響,這包括分享那些影響我們各種選擇的一些假設
  • 從內心展開、分享故事
  • 我不會在對話設定侷限、限制或假設,一定會保持開放的心態
  • 即興與對話的不同讓大家可以玩,然後從這些體驗中找出反思/洞察 -然後引入對話,再針對對話的「感覺」找出反思/洞察
  • 人類本能就是會批判。即興感懸浮我們想要判斷的衝動,好的對話就是需要懸浮判斷
  • 將即興與對話想像成宗旨導向、目標導向的團隊活動


  • 即興的應用到對話的相關特質 (Izzy的分享)
    • Presence處於當下 – 一定要身處或回到當下的此刻
    • Acceptance接納 – 「接受」與「同意」的差異
    • Trust信任- 相信流程,將判斷懸浮起來
    • Spontaneity即興- 期待改變、驚奇、轉折


  • Seeing my Yes, But or Yes, And attitude as facets of my whole self.
  • 開始盡可能聆聽,與朋友們再次一起練習即興技巧(任何遊戲),停下來享樂。不再衝衝衝完成目標。
  • 開始:「Serious-Play」,停止:「Playing Seriously」
  • 開始:透過這些遊戲鼓勵團體中安靜的人,讓他們分享。停止:在沒有聽到所有人的洞察之前就完成團體的會議
  • 聆聽棘手的談話或人的時候克制自己不發言,聆聽更崇高的目的。幫助我自己從 Yes, But 轉化成 Yes, And
  • 1. 聚焦在對話上,跟著這動態走,尋找好的契機,2. 限制並沒有界線, 3. 在教練的對話中更有彈性,從客戶的言語中尋找意圖或真正的需求, 4. 在對話中不要過度限制
  • 要怎麼避免遊戲變得太尷尬? Izzy回應:之所以尷尬,是因為遊戲的重點在於脆弱的面相,所以要確認自願參與的人是真心想要自願的。通常我會等到人們準備好要志願參與。或者我請他們反思他們自我的對話。很多時候,人們不敢跳出來,因為他們怕驚奇。即興幫助你區隔舒適感與安全感,知道兩者是彼此相輔相成的。

結語: 參與者一個詞語來形容今天活動


「原來被全心全意地傾聽,可以讓我發現我自己不知道的自己……」、「教練經常在對話中發現我的閃光點,當我幾乎要因為自卑放棄自己的時候,卻想起有人比我自己更相信我!」、「每個人對NPO的經驗都不同,對身為理監事的職責有各自的假設,我們需要先理解與釐清,才能在兩年內共創。」 你是否對這些話語也心有戚戚?國際教練聯盟台灣總會十多年來,持續推廣深度對話的精神與工具,為個人與團隊培養及實踐對話的八大能力。邀請朋友們一起來參與這場精彩的線上分享會!

主持人:朝邦文教基金會引導師 陳明勇
時間:19:30~21:30 (台灣時間)



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