What is “community” and how do we achieve it?

“A community is best defined as a group of people who, regardless of the diversity of their backgrounds, have been able to accept and transcend their differences, enabling them to communicate effectively and openly and to work together toward goals identified as being for their common good.” http://www.community4me.com/comm_definitions.html

I discovered that definition while working with The University of Kansas Medical Center to help develop a sense of community among students in the Master of Public Health program. http://ph.kumc.edu/

I like that definition. I have often commented that the role of community theatre is to knit diverse elements of a city together. At Topeka Civic Theatre and Academy, http://www.topekacivictheatre.com/, where I first learned improv (Thanks Shannon) I have often commented that the theatre contributes to the community by bringing diverse people together for a common purpose. It is not unusual to find an attorney in a minor role, a food service professional in the lead, and a business leader building sets.

Organizations, whatever their purpose need a sense of community. It you think about it, any team is made up of diverse individuals. It has to be. Numerous diverse skills are needed for an organization to function. But if it is to function at its highest level, it must have a sense of community; the individuals must be able “to accept and transcend their differences.”

Improv training is a wonderful way to do that:

  • First we laugh together. The more we laugh together the safer we feel with each other. It is very hard to bear a grudge after you share a laugh. (Hey I just made that up! You can quote me.)
  • Next, in that same spirit of laughter, we begin to work together toward common goals. It’s good practice that will translate back into the work place.
  • We make discoveries about each other, learn new things and discover new commonalities. We are all much more alike than we are different, and there are several improv exercises that help us discover how very much we have in common.
  • And through it all we have fun!

How often do employees come back to work from a required training session with a smile on their faces? After a session of community building through improv they will. And, if Laugh2learn provides the service, and you are not completely satisfied, you won’t have to pay me!

 What do you have to lose?



Who me, blog?

For several years I have been operating Laugh2Learn successfully. I have done so with a minimum of advertisement, depending on repeat business and word of mouth advertising. I recently decided I wanted to be more aggressive in marketing, and as a first step hired my friend Shau Marcotte of SLabImaging to help me. Shaun was good; he asked me a lot of questions about how I viewed my business; what made it unique; what niche was I looking for etc. After much thought I told him that people in my business tend to feature either humor or content. My niche is that I use humor to deliver content. Taking that information he developed and I adopted this logo:I would like to have some input on this. What do you think? Does it convey the message?

Shaun’s next suggestion startled me. “Marv,” he said, “The modern way to advertise is through social media. You’ve got to start a blog.”

Well who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I am writing and soon (I hope) you will be reading my blog. I hope it will direct you to my website, www.laugh2learn.com.

“Blog?” I said, “What do I put in a blog?”

“Just tell people what you have been doing. When you do a gig, tell about it.”

OK then Shaun, here goes:

Friday, May 20 I taught a six-hour Mediation and Conflict Resolution session to 14 Co-Op directors in the Kansas Infant Toddler network. Last year I had trained six mediators for the program, and my friends in the Infant Toddler program at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment felt that co-op directors could benefit from a deeper understanding of the mediation process. I designed and presented three sections — one each in Wichita, Garden City and Topeka. A fourth is scheduled for June 24 in Salina. The evaluations have been excellent.

Shaun said put in pictures, so here I am leading the discussion in Topeka:

Saturday was a great day: I attended the hooding ceremony for the graduating Masters of Public Health at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. http://ph.kumc.edu/ Since I teach a required course, I knew most of the graduates, and was able to meet their families and congratulate the graduates. Some of the families had come from as far away as Arizona, New Mexico, and Costa Rica.
I enjoy my work at KUMC. I love being around intelligent young people and one doesn’t get into graduate school without a measure of intelligence. But teaching public health graduates is even more exciting because of their values. No one goes into public health to get rich. These students are all committed to improving the lot of their fellow human beings and the planet on which we all live.

Tuesday, May 24,  I am going to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Wichita, to conduct a session on Emotional Intelligence. Dr. Suzanne Hawley, the site coordinator for the MPH program on the Wichita campus invited be to present a training on Emotional Intelligence to her team. As a part of the training I have arranged for each team member to take the Bar-On EQ-i assessment. http://www.mhs.com/product.aspx?gr=IO&prod=eqi&id=overview. In addition to discussing emotional intelligence concepts I will provide individual feedback to the team on their assessment.

Life is more than teaching; it must, if we are to stay young, involve learning. I am very excited to be attending the Applied Improvisation Network’s (http://appliedimprov.ning.com/) World Conference in Baltimore June 16 through 19. I attended this conference in Chicago in 2009, and laughed and learned and laughed and learned some more. I can hardly wait!

Well there you have it, my first blog post. I look forward to your feedback.