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Dan Klein teaches improvisation at Stanford University where he is on the faculty of the Theater and Performance Studies Department and the Graduate School of Business. His beginning improv class is one of Stanford’s most popular courses, and he has been awarded Stanford Teacher of the Year by the Student’s Association for teaching it.

Dan not only teaches improvisation for the sake of making people better theatrical performers, but he also teaches applied improvisation in many other settings. Applied improv takes the principles and mindsets of theatrical improv and applies them to new contexts to help people become more effective leaders, generous teammates, and happier individuals. Dan has brought improv to some of the world’s biggest companies including Cisco, Oracle, Nestle, and many more.

In this conversation, Dan Klein and I discuss why an improv theater class is one of the most popular classes at Stanford, which improv maxims he believes are the key to unlocking creativity, and specific storytelling strategies that you can use whether you’re making up a story on stage or delivering a high stakes presentation at your company.

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