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Welcome to Futureforth

We teach companies how to reach their people.

We are a social media strategy, digital marketing consultancy, and communications company based in Nashville. Our goal is to teach you inbound marketing, social media best practices, and everything you need to succeed with content marketing including your blog, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other favorite social networking platforms.

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The Futureforth Blog

Helpful tips and articles about social media strategy, content marketing, and business networking. 

Filtering by Tag: Nashville Business Journal

Three Ways Improv Can Help Your Business

Dave Delaney

Reprinted from the  Nashville Business Journal  by Joel Stinnett - October 19, 2017.   

Reprinted from the Nashville Business Journal by Joel Stinnett - October 19, 2017.
 

Have you heard the one about the company that hired a social media strategist to teach their employees how to perform improv comedy, with the expectation it would improve office communication skills and improve employee retention?

Probably not, because it hasn't happened yet. But networking guru and public speaker Dave Delaney is hoping that will change.

Delaney, who runs a consulting practice called Futureforth, is launching Communication Reboot, a new service aimed at teaching improvisation to businesses.

Many business leaders may wonder why they'd want their employees learning how to crack jokes on the fly and goof off. But Delaney, who graduated from Second City Toronto's improv course and still performs with the Nashville Improv Company, said he knows firsthand how improv can help a company.

"I know what it's like to work in an office and how mundane it can be," said Delaney, who also teaches improv to non-corporate clients. "I also know how valuable the lessons learned in improv can be to anyone, but especially to teams and businesses."

With that in mind, Delaney shared three ways improv can benefit your organization.

3 Ways Improv Can Benefit Your Organization

1. Improved listening skills and acceptance — Delaney said improv teaches you how to be silent and truly hear people. He said the fundamental rule of improv is, "Yes, and...," and he incorporates exercises into his training that emphasizes that principal. In one drill participants must listen to their scene partner to know what to do next and always begin their reply with, "Yes, and..."

"It's the idea that, 'Yes, I accept what you are saying and I am going to build on it,'" Delaney said. "If we are doing a scene as two plumbers working on a toilet and I say, 'Hey pass me that wrench,' and you say, 'It's not a wrench, it's a hammer,' then the scene doesn't flow. But if instead you replied, 'Yes, and here are some pliers,' then we have an idea to build on."

Delaney said this not only teaches people to listen, it teaches them to be open-minded. People become more accepting of other people's ideas and learn to build on them rather than automatically dismissing them. When teaching improv, Delaney also has students participate in a drill called, "Yes, but..." to demonstrate how much more difficult it is when you start from a place of contradiction.

2. Overcoming fear — Delaney said improv puts people in vulnerable situations and teaches them to think on their feet. Most people have a crushing fear of public speaking, he said, and improv gives people the confidence that they can handle stressful circumstances in front of a crowd.

Delaney said he was once giving a presentation to a health care company in front of 200 executives in a room and 20,000 employees streaming it online. He said instead of using his own equipment he used the company's. Shortly into the presentation, he was impressed that everyone knew the answers to the questions he was asking the crowd.

"I like to use slides and visual aids. I asked the crowd how many people they thought were on LinkedIn and every single hand went up. I turned around and the slides were advancing on a timer instead of with my clicker," Delaney said. "Under those circumstances some people would jump off the stage screaming and crying but I really tapped into the improv skills that I have learned and was able to push through."

He said it also teaches people to share ideas with colleagues and management without fear of rejection.

3. Employee retention — Delaney said businesses today, especially technology companies, are becoming more aware of the importance of culture. He said there is a talent gap in Nashville's tech industry and programs like Communication Reboot can help with employee retention by improving morale and team building.

Delaney said he tailors the course to the company and the department he is teaching and that pricing is determined by the size of the group. He said he is offering the improv training in Nashville and throughout the Southeast.

"Improv is a great way to improve company morale and educate people on communication," Delaney said. "And it's fun. It's a fun way to spend a half of a day with your coworkers."

Reprinted from the Nashville Business Journal by Joel Stinnett - October 19, 2017.

Your Communication Reboot awaits! Contact us today

Interview with the Nashville Business Journal

Dave Delaney

How a Toronto stranger became a Nashville name to knowI was recently interviewed for the Nashville Business Journal. The story is in part about me (a Toronto native) and how I used networking to land on my feet in Nashville. In fact, I share these stories in great detail in my book, New Business Networking. You can read the full article, How a Toronto stranger became a Nashville name to know, on the Nashville Business Journal site. Here are some takeaways the excellent writer, Jamie McGee, shared at the end of  her story.

1. Build your network online and offline before you need it: When you are looking for a new opportunity, you will already have a depth of people to reach out to and an established online profile. 2. Networking is a two-way street: Don't just think about how others can help you; think of it as how to help other people. It usually comes back with benefits later on. 3. Follow up and follow through: Opportunities are found in meeting with other people, but also in staying in touch. If you don't follow up on suggestions or keep in contact, it's a missed opportunity. Delaney recommends Gmail's Boomerang to help with this. 4. Remember names: We all know that terrible feeling of having met someone and drawing a blank the next time we see them, or worse, need to introduce them to someone else. Make a habit of saying their name when you first meet them or use word association tricks that will help you recall a name at a later time. 5. Take notes post meeting: Delaney said he sometimes records notes while he is driving away from a meeting that he can quickly reference in advance of follow-up meetings. He also recommends taking notes on the contact's business card after a meeting that will help in future meetings.

Thanks to Jamie and the Nashville Business Journal.

How Courtenay Rogers Used Twitter to Find a Job

Dave Delaney

Courtenay RogersThere is a wonderful story written by my friend, Courtenay Rogers, in the Nashville Business Journal. In it she explains how she used Twitter to find a job in less than two weeks. If you are just starting out on Twitter, you likely won't have the same luck as Courtenay did right away. The opportunities will come from building relationships over time. This is a good reminder to be actively building your network now.

In the article she writes:

In an economy where people were unemployed for years, I got a job at Bone McAllester Norton in less than two weeks — all because of Twitter and a digital relationship that led to a real-life opportunity.

Use Listorious to find lists of interesting people on Twitter to follow and start interacting with them today.

Don't forget to connect with me on Twitter @davedelaney. Be sure to follow @courtenayrogers and tell her you saw her story. I am certain she would love to hear from you.

Share your Twitter profile name in the comments, and let's be sure we are all connected there.

Photo from LinkedIn.