Skip to main content
Elizabeth Moffat

Elizabeth Moffat

OLC Student Community Coordinator
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

empty
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Credit
Ruven Afandor

I love Tina Fey. She’s hilarious, smart, and she doesn’t just play in what is traditionally a man’s game, she beats them at it. Plus one of my best friends has claimed Liz Lemon as her TV soul mate, because they are essentially the same person. Sure, Liz is 40-ish and runs a somewhat horrible late night TV show, and my friend is 21 and does not, but she does have better hair flashbacks, so it evens out.

Now, returning to the subject at hand, Tina Fey is an awesome person, and so is her book, Bossypants. This is why I’ve decided to let Ms. Fey guest post on my marketing blog, and help relate ‘The Rules of Improvisation That Will Change Your Life’ contained in her book to the rules for a successful co-op term.

Rule One: Always Say Yes

Improv scenes require all involved to be willing to say “Yes” and agree with whatever their scene partner just said. If one person holds up a stick and declares it King Arthur’s sword, it’s no fun if you scoff and call it a stupid stick. Your scene will be over before it begins.

Now, I should point out, that no, this does not mean you should say “Yes” to everything in life. If someone comes up to you on the street and tries to convince you that they are King Arthur you really shouldn’t go along with that. On the job, you shouldn’t say “Yes” to everything, if something makes you uncomfortable, you shouldn’t follow along just to be a team player. The point here is to at least start from an open-minded place. Respect where the other person is coming from, and give their idea proper consideration. If there are no immediate objections than try saying “Yes” and see what can happen.

Rule Two: Yes, And...

For an improv scene to succeed everyone needs to contribute. If one person is always the one pushing a scene forward, while the other contributes nothing more than mono-syllable answers then it doesn’t make for a very entertaining scene.

When it comes to your job, this rule means that you shouldn’t be afraid to contribute. Don’t assume that just because you’re new it means that your ideas are bad, or aren’t worth voicing. You are there for a reason, and your contributions are worthwhile. This doesn’t mean that the middle of a company-wide staff meeting is the forum to discuss your ideas to revolutionize the company, but it does mean that if you think the current stat-tracking system you’re using is inefficient that you shouldn’t be afraid to say so.

Rule Three: Make Statements

If you’ve ever done improv, then you know that if one person is always asking questions and creating obstacles while expecting you to solve them, that it creates far too much pressure, and isn’t much fun for either of you.

What this really means is don’t ask questions and bring up obstacles all the time. Yes, asking questions is important, especially when you’re in a new situation, and yes, being able to spot potential road blocks to a project is an essential skill, but someone needs to find solutions to these problems. Instead of shooting down an outdoor event while asking what to do if it rains, offer tolook into tent rentals and outdoor heaters.

People who put up endless roadblocks stop being invited out to lunch. People who solve problems get to put lunch on the company tab.

Rule Four: There Are No Mistakes

If you forget that your character was paralyzed in a hippo fighting accident and leap up mid-scene, don’t go back, go forward. This mis-step could be a huge mistake, and you could ruin the scene, or you could declare that you’ve been faking an injury for the insurance money, and make the scene even better.

You will make a mistake at work. It’s just a fact, accept it now, and you’ll be better prepared to deal with it when it happens. When this inevitable mistake is found out, you just need to accept responsibility, apologize if necessary, work on finding a way to fix it, figure out how it happened and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and finally find a way to move forward from there. Mistakes can be forgiven and forgotten about, as long as you take the correct actions in the aftermath.

Since starting my Co-op term in January I can think of times when I’ve followed this advice, and I can certainly find examples of times when I didn’t. I am fairly confident when I say that this applies to pretty much everyone, nevertheless, I think Tina Fey is on to something here.

Looking for more to read? Make sure you check out the rest of my Diary of a Marketing Co-op series, or go read Bossypants for yourself. If you want to share in my Tina Fey love, leave a comment, or reach out to me on Twitter @lizzmoffat or @SFU_OLC.

Beyond the Blog

  • Check out the Communications Co-op Blog, Communique, for more stories like Elizabeth's!

About the Author

Elizabeth Moffat

Elizabeth Moffat

OLC Student Community Coordinator
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

Improv Tips from Tina Fey
library_books
Blog
Improv Tips from Tina Fey
Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Life Experience, Workplace Success, Working, Marketing

Our marketing co-op student takes a break from discussing the details of her work term to share some advice from Tina Fey on improv and your own co-op semester.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Logo images Evengy created
My Journey to Broadcom

Did you know the School of Computing Science has a co-op program for graduate students?  Evgeny was thrilled when he found out and because of the program, he was able to land a job with everything he was looking for at Broadcom. Read about his experience in this four part blog series! 

Kaylla
Staying Productive While Working Remotely for a Health Authority

Working from home is a common reality for many Co-op students in the past year. Working from home while working for a Health Authority in the thick of the pandemic is a tremendous experience Kaylla went through last year. Take a look at how she learned to stay productive in these uncertain times.

Christina and her coworkers enjoying a company lunch around a communal table
Breaking Through Preconceived Assumptions

Deciding which Co-op opportunity to select can be challenging when there’s so many possibilities with different industries. Christina shares what it's like to work in an unexpecting industry and how she learned to pick up new experiences while learning on the job and integrating herself within the workplace.