October 2012 Meeting Notes

Below are the notes from our October meeting.  Christy did a GREAT job capturing our experiences with IMPROV as a fun and novel means to collaboration!

Please remember to sign up for our holiday meeting slated for Friday, November 30th, at 8:30 a.m. At this meeting, you’ll be able to share new ideas, changes you’ve made to enhance your organization, and successes you’ve experienced as we move into the new year.

Location: Haven Hospice Community Center, 745 Blanding Blvd, OP, 32065 (just across from Staples, between the old and new Walmart)

Cost: $5 per person for refreshments and meeting logistics.

Remember to RSVP and please spread the word!

Enjoy the notes and see you soon!



“The Power of Improv to Grow People, Organizations, and Communities,” with Jessie Shternshus


  • THANK YOU to Haven Hospice for letting us use this amazing meeting space!
  • LeeAnn Rassler, Clay County Chamber gave out a flyer for First Coast Community Health Screenings; Chamber members $40. 
  • Shaping Clay members may join the chamber for $140 through 11/15, a savings of $45.


  • We had such a great interactive meeting, that it was difficult to take notes.  Here are some random thoughts from the meeting.
  • Jessie Shternshus of the IMPROV Effect provided us with a great interactive workout.
  • She asked, when you hear the word “IMPROV,” what do you think?  Answers….. Anxious. Spontaneous. Creative.  Imaginative.
  • She asked when you hear the word “improvise,” what do you think? Answers….. Find a way to do something. Make something work. Consider them both the same.  This is an example that when you change the word slightly, you can change the way your audience feels about your presentation, you and what you do.
  • Jessie encouraged us to find commonality with your partner; or the audience you are trying to reach.
  • The way to find commonality is through collaborating, or working together to find answers.
  • Our first activity was to point to things and name them what they are not in order to allow our minds to create a new reality.  She asked how did this make us feel, uncomfortable or did it free our creativity.
  • For our next activity, Jessie asked us to point to an object and call it by the name of the previous object you just looked at. So, if you first looked at a lamp, then looked at a window…call the window “lamp,” then call the next object you look at a “window,” and so on…
  • She asked us to look at how people come to the table, look at the constraints that they put on themselves, their agendas, what they need.
  • Our next exercise was called “finish my word.” In pairs, one person said a word and the other responded with the first word that came his/her mind.  For example: the first person might say “Chocolate,” and the other might respond “Peanut Butter,” or “Yummy,” or whatever comes to mind.
  • We did this to provide a safe environment where there are no mistakes, great ideas may come when you allow people to just respond, instead of having to think of the ‘right ‘answer.
  • Next, in groups of 3 – 4 we were to ask one question, but ask it to the group three times to dig for deeper responses.  This was to show that sometimes the first answer to a question or problem may not be the best, it sometimes take times to dissect the layer of the problem to find the right answer.  In this instance, improv can be liberating.  But this exercise also showed that finding the answer is a process.
  • Use improv around people who are passionate about the cause.  Let them be comfortable to give ideas, give them permission to try
  • Don’t let time constrain your creative ideas.
  • Improv is first about expanding our thought process with no time limit.  It is about making people comfortable enough to share their ideas. Provide an environment where it is ok to make mistakes
  • What YOU think is traditional, is not always what someone else views as traditional.
  • Listen to everyone’s answers, it helps you to become more creative.
  • When we come into a situation with an agenda, improv allows you to be “in the moment.” Validation of others’ ideas helps spark the creative process.
  • Our last exercise was a listening game, done in pairs, in which one person must answer their partner’s question with last letter of the last word of the question posed. Then the partner must continue the conversation starting his/her next statement using the last letter of the last word their partner used, and so on…
  • This exercise forced us to listen to the end of the question.  It also allowed us to answer in a way that allowed our partner to look good.  This is a great way to hear how donors and supporters feel about you and your organization.  The exercise also shows how important it is to stay in the moment, don’t let your mind race to the next question, your next point in the conversation.  Listen to what the other person is trying to say.

Beth Eifert
Coordinator, Shaping Clay Helping Professionals’ Group

Shaping Clay mission:
Shaping Clay exists to provide Clay County-focused, non-profit champions amazing educational opportunities, supply stellar networking experiences, and offer synergistic partnership possibilities to help local charities improve, grow, and thrive, thereby enhancing the lives of those served in our community.