How to Host an Improvised Talent Show


Hosting a talent show at work is a great way to build a community, have some fun, and give individuals and teams a different kind of recognition.  But what if you don’t want to spend the time it takes to get a talent show up and running?  Or what if you have an organization-wide meeting and are looking for an interesting team-building event?

Hosting an improvised talent show is a great way to have fun without needing to do as much pre-work up front.  An improvised talent show is just a show where the participants have little time to actually prepare a talent, and instead rely on teamwork and quick-thinking to present something to the audience.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Gather a Group of People

In order to have the show, you need a group of people together in a single area.  During an off-site meeting or all-day training is an ideal time for this.  The number of people doesn’t matter too much, though it’s ideal to have at least 10 and no more than 100.

Step 2: Explain the Rules

The rules of an Improvised Talent Show are pretty simple.  Everyone in attendance will be divided into teams.  The teams will have a set amount of time to come up with something to present to the group–a skit, a song, an interpretive dance–whatever they choose.

After the set time has passed, each of the groups will then perform what they have prepared for all of the other groups.  At the end, a winner will be chosen and they’ll receive a prize.

Step 3: Let the Groups Prepare

The amount of time the groups have to come up with something is entirely up to you as an organizer–it can be as short as 10-minutes or as long as 2-hours.  The shorter time, the more improv the groups will have to use.

It’s important to mention to the groups that having the “perfect” skit or song isn’t important, the point of the exercise is to create something together as a group and have fun presenting it to everyone.

Step 4: Add Any Additional Requirements

To make things more interesting, you can add a few more rules to the performances.  Some example rules that have worked out well in the past include:

  1. Allow groups to use some type of prop in their performance.
  2. Require that everyone in a group must be involved in the performance in some way.
  3. Set minimum and maximum time limits for each performance (such as it must be between 1 to 3 minutes in length).
  4. Throw in additional constraints such as the group must include certain key catchphrases or only one person in the group is allowed to speak.

Step 5: Let the Show Begin

Once the set amount of time has passed, randomly select an order in which the groups will perform, and call them up one-by-one.  You can then either have a panel of judges rate each group to decide a winner, or use an unofficial applause-o-meter to pick the best group.  Depending on your budget, the winning group can either win a small prize, or just the respect of their peers.

Final Thoughts

An improvised talent show is a great way to bring a group of people together for some goofy fun.  By making it an improvised show, you remove any fears from the performers that their performance has to be perfect–it’s more about the fun of creating something unique.

Interested in a more structured talent show?  Check out How to Host a Work Talent Show.

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