Accept Every Offer Workshop

Consider letting “Yes, AND” work its magic on you

In this workshop you will discover how to generate more creative ideas in less time, re-think how meetings are structured, deepen listening skills and increase the engagement of stakeholders.

How will you discover this? I will teach you a simple process that requires practice. We will practice together. You will leave being able to teach others!

  • Switch from “yes, BUT” to “yes, AND”
  • Accept every offer
  • Deepen your listening skills
  • Make your partner look good
  • Create a new story

How to improve workplace communication, make more out of meetings, and boost morale

This workshop will not involve performing on a stage, but will use techniques from the world of improv theater. One of the rules is to accept every offer. To switch from “yes, but” to “yes, AND”.  In the world of improv,  stifling,  rejecting or shutting down an idea is known as “blocking.” Onstage, blocking your partner is not allowed because it stops the story in its tracks and makes your partner look bad. In our workplaces, blocking is common. It doesn’t have to be.

You’ve probably been in a meeting in which someone says, “Time for some problem solving. Let’s hear your ideas.” YOU have an idea, so you speak up. It’s barely out of your mouth when the response is, “That’s a great idea, but it would cost too much.” Or, “GREAT idea, but we tried it a year ago before you were here. Total flop.” And so on. Our “yes, but” muscles get lots more exercise than our “yes, AND” muscles. So much so that many great ideas never see the light of day. What a drag!

Maybe it would cost a lot, but maybe we could be creative in finding some money, if it’s truly a good idea. Maybe we did try this wonderful idea before you came along. And maybe it failed because YOU weren’t here yet. Maybe You have the key!

Let’s not be so quick to shut down possibilities.

The Accept Every Offer process teaches us how to practice listening and collaborating. Switching to “yes, AND” unlocks creative ideas – often from those who tend to be quiet during meetings. It also shifts the mood, builds momentum and boosts morale.

It’s like magic, and anyone can learn to do it! With practice, we create a new habit and say goodbye to our old habit of blocking.

In a brainstorm session, when we “yes, AND” each other, we’re not saying we all agree with every idea. “Yes” does not mean we will, but rather, we might. “Yes” means your idea does not get blocked. It gets to live – at least for now.

Every idea that’s offered is met with “Yes, AND how about if we…” (another idea.) And then the next idea and the next and so on. You’ll find that forbidding the “yes buts” results in many more ideas in less time.

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skillfully curled)
all worlds

– from “love is a place” by ee cummings

When your idea is met with “yes, AND” there is validation. When we validate your idea (remember, not necessarily agreeing it’s fabulous) we are validating YOU.

Think about that for a minute. Do you regularly feel validated at work? Imagine this evening you ask someone, “How was work?” You’re not likely to hear this in response: “Ugh, am I ever glad to be home! I’m exhausted from being validated so much today!”

In my opinion and in my experience, most workplaces could use more positive communication, more curiosity, more kindness, more listening and more joy. This process improves relationships. It builds respect. It reminds us, as Maya Angelou writes, “We need to remember that we are created creative, and we can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”

Praise for Peter’s workshops

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This process disrupts some of the negative calcifications we can create in our work that block us from participating with our full energy. I left feeling very energized. Lots of good takeaways about idea-generation skills and communication!

Alison Craig, MD, FAAPPediatrician and Chief of Staff
Group Health Cooperative of South-Central Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Your Friends at Goodman Center
Goodman Community Center

Here at Blue Water Center for Independent Living, we believe that organizational communication and strategic thinking are keys to effective program development and dynamic consumer service delivery. Peter introduced the “Yes, And” and other improv principles to our staff. While there was some initial skepticism, we have used these ideas to complete tasks such as event planning, team building, the revision of publications — and most importantly, significant attitude change.

Jim WhalenExecutive Director
Blue Water Center for Independent Living

Port Huron, MI

I’m going to promote this training to my employer and try to get Peter back here. Everyone should experience this.

This is going to help my staff work better together, with more contributions from people who are usually quiet. I love it! I wish we had more time with this today.

At first it seemed overly simple. Then when I saw it modeled and started to participate, it was mind-blowing!

"Innovation Through Improvisation" Workshop Attendees
Omaha and Kearney, NE

Peter presented a workshop for direct support staff in Concord, NH recently. What impressed me the most was the creative and fun way that he started with a relatively simple idea (labeling people) and then went on to reveal more subtle variations and implications of that idea.  And all the while, he invited the listener into the perspective of an individual with a disability, either by stories or understandings that were fundamental to the broader human experience.  I found myself feeling entertained, educated, and inspired to think more deeply all in one fell swoop!  Not since the days of listening to Herb Lovett had I experienced such an intelligence so embedded in compassion and humor.  I think the best examples of this are in his songs, which are full of wit and humor but also cut deep into “uncomfortable” issues that rarely get talked about.

Dave Yeiter
Monadnock Developmental Services,
Keene, NH

Thank you Peter for the awesome conference in Portland! It is great to know that someone who has been in this field for 25+ years still remembers and understands what it’s like to be a direct care worker. Often times I feel that my opinions and thoughts are swept under the rug, but during your keynote and sessions I didn’t feel that way at all. Jeez, I even got to have some fun — I could be myself and still be taken seriously!

Rosebeth Wilson
Direct Support Professional
Westbrook, ME

Lutheran Social Service of MN has long believed that a person is a person, regardless of their disability. Through your conference, many of our staff were reenergized by the honest and open look at supports.

Your humor and outlook on what can be a difficult job at times for staff was wonderful. Thank you for being the voice for people that often do not have a voice and advocating that all of us can do the same.

Barb Stensland
Area Director
LSS of Minnesota

I used your DVD at a two-day forum with support workers from various regions of Western Australia.

I anticipated a good response, however the message was received with a huge level of enthusiasm.
Thank you!

Lynne Clutterbuck
Western Australia

I enjoyed the event very much – I found it very uplifting, interesting and mind blowing. In fact it was the best learning event I have ever experienced, and I feel very fortunate that we were given the opportunity to attend (although in all honesty I was not looking forward to it). It has enabled me to have this new passion, which hopefully I can transfer to others. Thank you all.

Just to say once again, a BIG THANK YOU for hosting this event. We are going to do our best to bring these issues to the forefront of our thinking as an organisation, both in an individual way and collectively, for how we think in our planning, and how we support people in their lives.

Thanks for organising an excellent 3 days. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was great to be with so many like minded people.

I just wanted to say I really enjoyed the course last week. The speakers were excellent! There were a lot of interesting discussions and I think everyone who was there really wanted to make a difference. I am already looking forward to the next one.

Attendees of “Doing Our Best Work”
Edinburgh, Scotland
Jan 9-11, 2013

Peter was great! I wish I could bring in all my providers to attend this training. I would attend this training again because it is productive with ideas.

…wonderful combination of fun and practical information.

Peter is great at getting us to think about our intentions as providers; whose interests are we serving? Thank you Peter, for showing me what’s important.

Attendees of Full Lives Conference
Bethel, Alaska
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