Q&A: Kate Symes dishes on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Improvisers
Commonwealth’s Kate Symes is an audience favorite on stage and a popular teacher at WIT—but you may not know that she’s also a master salesperson. Kate is teaching a workshop this weekend called The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Improvisers, inspired by the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Kate took some time to answer some questions about her original four-hour WIT U workshop.


So, what exactly is this workshop?


It’s a chance to spend some quality time discovering and evaluating the habits you’ve fallen into in your improv practice, then dropping the ones that aren’t serving you and strengthening the ones that are. Plus I want to hang out with cool improvisers who want to learn and get better, so there’s that.


What am I going to learn?


Using the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” as our guide, we’ll learn methods to make our time on an improv stage more effective, and by extension more enjoyable. We all have a go-to character type, tendency to react in a certain way, or default role we play in improv scenes.


Some of your habits may be great (e.g. always making the active choice in scenes). Others may be getting in the way of you having the most fun, successful scenes possible (e.g. always going for a joke at the expense of the reality of the scene). We’ll also learn how to use the word “synergize” correctly in a sentence.


How did you come up with the idea?


I work in sales, and like a good and dutiful salesperson, sometimes I find myself reading business books from the 80s. I finally got around to reading this last year and was immediately struck by how well the rules fit with the “rules” that great improvisers tend to follow. From the very first one – “be proactive” – to the last – “sharpen the saw”** – the habits outlined in the book are just really great ones for improvisers to develop.


** Not an actual saw. This is a metaphor.


Register for The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Improvisers. It will take place this Saturday from noon to 4 PM at Source.
January 26, 2015