That reality is what makes meeting planners a logical audience for Jessica Shternshus, the founder and CEO of the Improv Effect, a Jacksonville-based improv troupe and training company. Shternshus is one of three speakers scheduled for the Small Market Meetings Conference Oct. 28-30 in Jacksonville, Fla.
Corporate training is among the Improv Effects’ specialties. Schternshus studied theater at the University of South Florida and New York University and worked on Sesame Street and for Paramount Pictures and CBS. In addition to the shows it does at local comedy clubs, the Improve Effect shows business people how to incorporate elements of improv at work.
In doing so, they learn to think on their feet, use creativity to solve problems and communicate with those around them.
Groupon, Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Florida, Expedia and Fidelity Investments are among the Improv Effect’s corporate clients.
During her 45-minute talk Shternshus promises to keep the audience on its toes as she explores ways to help meeting planners communicate with vendors and others, change directions when situations shift, create an atmosphere of participation and fun and work together to solve problems.
“Any planner,” Shternshus said, “should be able to veer from a planned agenda to satisfy unexpected circumstances.”
In a recent interview with the Florida Times-Union, Shternshus summed up why improv is a natural fit for business.
“In business, there are always lots of curveballs. You always deal with the unexpected. There’s no script to follow, so you have to rely on your awareness and ability to improvise.”