YES AND instills self-confidence. Knowing that everyone in the room will say yes to all of your ideas at all times gives us the freedom to say what we feel without fear of rejection. Sometimes there is a voice in my head that says, “don’t say that. They might not like that. That won’t be funny enough. That won’t be good enough.” I tell my students, “Crumple that voice up and throw it away! In here there are no bad ideas, no wrong answers. In fact we love, need and celebrate all of your ideas!”  What better way to demonstrate this confidence than to sell something?

Players are in teams of anywhere from 4-10 (usually the class is split in half). Each team is tasked with the following. Invent something we need – Something that might aid in our mental health, our recovery or the healing of humanity. After the invention is established teams will work together to create the commercial for their invention. The commercial should include the name of the product, a demonstration of how it works, at least one celebrity* endorsing the product, and a slogan or jingle.

*In improv you do not need to be able to do celebrity impersonations. Just confidently say, “hi, I’m Oprah Winfrey for this product…” and the audience will believe you.

You have only 5 minutes to do all of this, but that’s ok because you are using the improv skill YES AND! Don’t say no to any ideas. Enthusiastically say YES to all ideas AND keep adding to them until you all have had input into your invention. Then tackle the commercial the same way. The first person to speak will be the basis for the invention, but should not give the entire idea. For example, the first player might say, “Let’s invent some sort of protective cape,” or “How about an ap that helps control anger.” Everyone else will YES AND until the product and commercial have been created. Then we show our commercials to each other.

While the commercials are always funny and entertaining, the talk afterwards revolves around the process. How was it inventing something with yes and? How did the product take shape with everyone’s ideas being incorporated? How did if feel knowing all your ideas will be accepted? What was it like presenting the commercial? What do our inspirational inventions say about what we feel the world needs?