Improv & Leadership Back by Popular Demand | This Fall Exclusively at UIC Liautaud

Many business leaders have the technical skills and acumen to rise to the top, however, their careers are made or limited by a somewhat elusive set of qualities that can collectively be called “executive presence.” Executive presence is a combination of verbal and non-verbal abilities that are recognized as a poised, authentic communication style, particularly in spontaneous or impromptu interactions. This kind of “style”, however, is not superficial - it is critical to one’s productivity and effectiveness.

Business managers can profit greatly from the training received by some of the world’s experts in spontaneous, creative communication: improvisational theater actors. Malcolm Galdwell, the author of the bestselling book, Blink, identified the improv actor as a model of the poised, sophisticated and infinitely adaptable speaker. “Spontaneity isn't random,” he said, “How good people’s decisions under the fast-moving, high-stress conditions of rapid cognition is a function of training and rules and rehearsal.”

Returning to this fall's curriculum offering is the extremely popular MBA 590 course, Improvisation and Leadership. Using improvisational theater techniques taught in workshop exercise of graduating difficulty, this course creates a safe laboratory for students to experiment with the elements of their own executive presence. This is a “presentations course” where students study how to present themselves in a variety of executive communication modes: networking, interviewing, creative team leadership and impromptu speaking situations, like client interactions or expert panel discussions. The course is taught by Michael Popowits, a 20-year faculty member of the UIC College of Business Administration, and an executive communications coach who worked with executives in dozens of industries in the US, Europe, and Asia. Professor Popowits has also studied the art of improvisation for years and currently teaches weekend classes and directs student ensembles at the Second City Theater in Chicago. Read more about Michael Popowits' exciting course by clicking HERE

This fall's listings are as follows:

Improvisation and Leadership (CRN 27234)

Meets August 26 – October 18

Wednesdays from 6:00-8:30pm

Improvisation and Leadership (CRN 27235)

Meets October 21 – December 6

Wednesdays from  6:00-8:30pm

Professor: Michael Popowits

Due to the popularity of this course, interested students should register as soon as possible to secure placement. For more information about the MBA 590 courses, please email us.

Popowits’ experience in public accounting, consulting, executive coaching and improvisational theatre sets the stage for some of the exercises and really tests students’ abilities to handle spontaneous professional situations and conflicts.

PHOTO CREDIT: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin, UIC Photo Services