"Yes, and...", also referred to as "Yes, and..." thinking, is a rule-of-thumb in improvisational comedy that suggests that an improviser should accept what another improviser has stated ("yes") and then expand on that line of thinking ("and").[1][2][3] The principle does not forbid disagreements between the improvisers' characters, but states that one should not reject the basic premises introduced by the other person, as this would throw them off and harm the flow of the scene.[1]

The principle is also used in business and other organizations for improving the effectiveness of the brainstorming process, fosters effective communication, and encourages the free sharing of ideas.[4]

The ‘Yes, and...’ rule is complemented by the ‘No, but...’ technique, which serves to refine and challenge ideas in a constructive manner.

Principles edit

The "Yes" portion of the rule encourages the acceptance of the contributions added by others. Participants in an improvisation are encouraged to agree to a proposition, fostering a sense of cooperation[2] rather than shutting down the suggestion and effectively ending the line of communication.

In an organizational setting, saying "Yes" in theory encourages people to listen and be receptive to the ideas of others. Rather than immediately judging the idea, as judgment has its place later on in the development process, one should initially accept the idea, which enables the discussion to expand on the idea without limitations.[4] The next step in the process is to add new information into the narrative. The concept of "and" is to sway away from directly changing the suggested material, "and" rather building upon it.[2] Additionally, and often overlooked, the "And" encourages self-awareness, confidence, and expressive skills which are necessary for setting limits, asking for help, giving feedback, delegating and even the ability to say "No".[5]

References edit

  1. ^ a b NathanMinns (2022-10-30). "What does "Yes, And..." In Improv Really Mean?". Green Light Improv. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  2. ^ a b c "Rules of comedy improv and acting". Pan Theater. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  3. ^ "What I Learned From the First Rule of Improv - Yes, And". Plantingourpennies.com. Retrieved 2014-02-05.
  4. ^ a b Kulhan, Bob (2013-04-10). "Why 'Yes, and...' Might Be the Most Valuable Phrase in Business". Big Think. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  5. ^ https://bethboynton.com/can-yes-and-medical-improv-help-when-we-need-to-say-no/