Play, Improv, and Training Teams to Succeed and Have Fun with Erin Diehl | POP 986

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What stands in the way of adults playing? Have you ever yearned for spirited playing and having fun like when you did as a kid?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about play, improv, and training teams to succeed and have fun with Erin Diehl. 

Podcast Sponsor: Therapy Notes

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Meet Erin Diehl

A photo of Erin “Big” Diehl is captured. She is a Business Improv Edutainer, Failfluencer, and Professional Zoombie. Erin is featured on the Practice of the Practice, a therapist podcast.

Erin “Big” Diehl is a Business Improv Edutainer, Failfluencer, and Professional Zoombie. Through a series of unrelated dares, Erin created improve it!, a unique professional development company rooted in improv comedy, that pushes leaders and teams to laugh, learn, play, and grow.  She is the proud host of The improve it! Podcast, a Top 1% Global Podcast, which helps develop leaders and teams through play, improv and experiential learning, and first-time author of the Amazon Best Seller & Top New Release: I See You! A Leader’s Guide to Energizing Your Team Through Radical Empathy. Among her many accolades, Erin is most proud of successfully coercing over 35,000 professionals to chicken dance.

Visit Erin Diehl’s website and listen to her podcast. Connect on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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In this Podcast

  • What stands in the way of adult play? 
  • Use your play skillset with teams
  • Do you want to approach your teams with play? 
  • Erin’s advice to private practitioners 

What stands in the way of adult play? 

Usually the people with the biggest egos, and [who] haven’t learned to lead from a place of a higher consciousness have a very hard time being vulnerable, and I always say, ‘People have been wearing masks to work prior to 2020’ … We saw people as who they are, in their homes, with their children … We were able to see human for human beings, not human’s ‘doing’. (Erin Diehl) 

Erin has found in her career and life experience as a performer that the people who have the biggest egos are the ones who do not allow themselves to join in on the fun. 

They can see it happening, and the people around them are engaging in it, but they hold themselves back because they are clinging to their ego, their mask, and aren’t willing to be vulnerable in the pursuit of authenticity. 

Then it’s your own fault! You’re not allowing yourself to play, and I think what really happens is we find people who don’t want to look uncomfortable in front of their peers, people who don’t want to drop their work facade, and they stand out because everybody else is doing so. (Erin Diehl) 

If Erin witnesses this, she gives that person a lot of grace and allows them to enter into the space when they’re ready to, and often by the end of it, they have by their own volition, and end up questioning themselves why it took them so long to let go. 

Do you want to approach your teams with play?

Erin works with her own play therapist – someone who offers play therapy for adults – and through her work, Erin has learned a great deal. 

I’m doing this one-on-one with her … And what we do in a team setting is that we are taking, instead of talk therapy, we’re experiencing the feelings that we want them to talk about. (Erin Diehl)

In her groups, Erin does activities that allow them to get to a certain place where they can feel the emotion through recreating the situation and moving through it. 

For example, Erin teaches her team the importance of body language through play activities, and how body language speaks volumes. 

It’s taking it and making sure that the team dynamics are cohesive, not just the individual, and that is really a game changer because it’s a conversation starter, and it gets people thinking about how they show up on a day-to-day basis. (Erin Diehl) 

Skills and activities for play-working with teams 

Some of the soft skills that Erin recommends people learn if they are interested in offering play in professional spaces are:

  • Team-building 
  • Effective communication 
  • Presentation skills 
  • Networking 
  • Leadership 
  • Thinking quickly on your feet 
  • Taking risks 

Every workshop [that we offer] has its own comedic video showing you how not to do the skill that we’re about to teach you on, and then there is a survey built into that … so we can get specific on what they want to achieve … And it continues the learning [process] for three weeks post-workshop. (Erin Diehl)  

Over 10 years, Erin and her team have developed these experiential workshops because they listened to leaders and teams, and about what they needed, and built it on from there. 

Erin’s advice to private practitioners 

You are doing amazing work! The world needs your light – and you need to dedicate time to yourself so that you can care for your light. Be proactive and take “light-saver” days for yourself!

Sponsors Mentioned in this episode:

Books mentioned in this episode:

Erin Diehl – I See You!: A Leader’s Guide to Energizing Your Team Through Radical Empathy

Useful links mentioned in this episode:

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Meet Joe Sanok

A photo of Joe Sanok is displayed. Joe, private practice consultant, offers helpful advice for group practice owners to grow their private practice. His therapist podcast, Practice of the Practice, offers this advice.

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners who are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

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