One of the best things I have learned, but not mastered, is the #1 Rule of Improv:“Yes, and…”. In that game someone starts the game by telling part of a story. When they are ready to pass to someone else they stop talking and point at the person. That person can say anything they want but they have to start by saying: “Yes, and…” then they go into whatever they want to talk about.
In an Improv class the goal is to create funny situations. Outside of Improv this process can be used in brainstorming sessions. In a brainstorming session the goal is to come up with new ideas for products, solutions, and what to have for lunch. By replying only with “Yes, and…” people need to make sure they have listened and considered the benefits of what was shared. Otherwise the room gets really quiet.
“Yes, and…” works because it stays focused on being positive and progressing the conversation. Not all conversations need this approach but I would argue that most could be improved using it. If for nothing else it will reduce negative conversations. You can still think critically but you have to figure out how to vocalize it in an agreeing and positive manner.
How many family discussions could we save by smiling and replying with “yes, and…” to the relative we most disagree with? Its hard for someone to disagree with you when you just agreed with them. Even if the rest of your reply calls them out the conversation has been diffused and should take on a different tone from that point on.
Yes, and we should also just be nicer to each other.
Yes, and the nicer we are to each other the happier we will all be.
Yes, and ice cream is really great.
Yes, and that is enough for today.