Alumnus’ company gives a ‘Green Light’ to improv based team building

The Lantern
Nathan Minns, the founder of Green Light Improv and 2019 Ohio State alumnus, facilitates a workshop for Ohio State students. Credit: William Turon

Nathan Minns is a 2019 Ohio State alumnus and founder of Green Light Improv , a professional facilitation group that instills flexibility, strengthens communication and enhances creativity through guided improv workshops.

A performer since high school, Minns said he felt inspired to audition for an improv group at Ohio State after an impressive freshman-year Welcome Week performance. This performance launched a passion that Minns said he translated into a career by developing people professionally using improv skills with his own company.

“While I was there in my first semester, I saw the two on-campus improv groups — Fishbowl Improv and 8th Floor Improv,” Minns said. “I saw them perform, and I knew that improv was something I wanted to do. So, right after their Welcome Week show, I went out and auditioned for both groups, and I felt like I did really well.”

After being denied from both groups, Minns said he ended up auditioning seven times before landing a spot in the FishBowl Improv Group.

“What those seven auditions taught me was that improv is a learnable skill,” Minns said. “I was naturally very bad at improv, but I developed this skill through taking classes, putting in the work and learning how to do it right.”

Minns took it a step further and combined his passion for improv with his entrepreneurial goals.  As a student in business administration, Minns said he was able to fuse his specialties and use improv to help others through his own company.

At Green Light Improv, Minns said he and his team offer structured improv-based workshops that enhance important life and work skills.

“There are three major programs. We have team building, communication skills and creativity and resilience,” Minns said.

Workshops are typically 1-4 hours long and Minns and the group will travel to the client’s site. They are also located at 1733 W. Lane Ave. and Minns said this location is another option for any group looking to team build.

Sessions start with an introduction from Minns, which he said is meant to explain the purpose and set the group at ease with improv before moving further.

Minns said the workshop transitions into partner exercises and group activities that lead to meaningful conversation and growth among the team.

“These partner exercises are to help the group open up a bit more and just be more comfortable with the concept of doing improv,” Minns said. “They are largely designed to get people more comfortable doing more performative exercises together. So, whether it’s a new group or it’s a group that has known each other for four years, everyone is growing together.”

To make improv more casual and accessible to those looking to strengthen their professional skills, Minns said he makes it clear that typical improv methods are not strictly followed during sessions, and the groups work together in a safe environment.

“I like to say everything we do is improv-based, but we never say ‘Alright, time to get started. Let’s get two up there and entertain the group for the next hour.’ That doesn’t happen,” Minns said. “Everything we do has a learning outcome associated with it, and it’s simplified so that a beginner can do it while being stretched slightly outside of their comfort zone, but not to the point where they’re incapacitated because it’s too much.”

Ty Shepfer, senior lecturer at the Fisher College of Business, said Green Light Improv built important professional skills within his teams and was a rewarding experience.

“I had Green Light Improv facilitate workshops for my undergraduate and master’s level courses and the content does an excellent job teaching students to be vulnerable while creating valuable bonds within teams,” Shepfer said. “Nathan is a remarkable facilitator who brings a level of seriousness and pairs it with humor and fun — the perfect balance to achieve great results.”

This story was updated 12:47 am. Feb. 9 to reflect the location of client workshops.

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