Making Statements?

A few days ago Andy sent me a few links with articles that takes Tina Fey’s Improv Rules (from her book “Bossypants“) and applies them to work life. You can read them here and here. Then, he wrote a post applying the same Improv Rules to Open Source Development, “Open Source is improv, so say “Yes, and.

In all of these commentaries two things have stuck out to me.

One: Self-censorship is not allowed. The internal editor needs to die. You know, that voice that edits your own thoughts, keeping you from being spontaneous, incorrect, and sometimes even right because you’re afraid of a number of things (responses, what people will think, failure, etc).

Two: Confidence is required. At some point, I need to turn my questions into statements. And be bold enough to support them. Here’s a quote from “Tina Fey’s Rules For Improv…And the Workplace“:

Rule #3 — Make Statements

This is a positive way of saying “Don’t ask questions all the time.” If we’re in a scene and I say, “Who are you? Where are we? What are we doing here? What’s in that box?” I’m putting pressure on you to come up with all the answers

We’ve all worked with that person. That person is a drag. It’s usually the same person around the office who says things like “There’s no calories in it if you eat it standing up!” and “I felt menaced when Terry raised her voice.

Lesson: Don’t Ask Questions All the Time

Statements are about confidence. Asking nothing but questions is draining. It’s excluding yourself from being part of the solution, it’s building obstacles instead of bridges, it’s throwing the ox in the mire and stealing the plow to get him out.

In order to find my voice, I need to be able to make statements. Otherwise, I’m not adding any new content, I’m leaving all the work to someone else. Sure, while asking questions is a good thing, it shouldn’t stop there. Asking questions, collecting data, and researching topics will only move the conversations forward if something can be said about the data—and maybe even more importantly, something can be created in response to the data.

So, I have another post already mulling in my head. One in which I’ll make a statement… something about the connection between good data and awesome customer service.

Stay tuned.

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