University of Nebraska Medical Center

The Art of Thinking on Your Feet

illustration of two people talking

Become a more agile communicator

This interactive workshop provides participants with strategies to enhance on-the-spot thinking, eliminate bad habits in both verbal and nonverbal dialogue, and accurately read emotions and intent. Download the series brochure below for more information about each session.

Download Brochure



Unit 1

Decoding Emotional Intelligence 

1.1 Getting on the Same Page: Strategies to Default to Empathy 

October 13, 2022  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

Learn to improve your personal and professional relationships by building communal trust and understanding. 

1.2 Learning to Grow in Times of Change: 
Strategies to Make You and Your Team More Adaptable

October 20, 2022  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

Use active listening techniques to develop dynamic collaboration skills to enhance adaptability. 

Unit 2

Excelling at Non-Verbal Communication

2.1 Growing Big Ears: Strategies to Improve Active Listening

November 10, 2022  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

This hands-on session is designed to help you assess your current skills and practice simple exercises to sharpen them.

Actions Speak Louder than Words: Strategies to Project and Identify Nonverbal Signals

November 17, 2022  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

Practice strategies to ensure your body language communicates the desired message and to accurately interpret the body language of others. 


Unit 3

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

3.1 Dousing the Flames of Burnout: Strategies for Thriving Personal Wellness

February 16, 2023  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

Practice and master techniques that allow you to look at experiences in a different light to develop a growth mindset to prevent burnout and improve wellness. 

3.2 Food for Thought: Using Feedback to Create a Culture with a Growth Mindset

February 23, 2023  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

Practice strategies to seek out and benefit from feedback activities to optimize your growth. 

Unit 4

Breaking Barriers, Building Bridges

4.1 Dealing with the Elephant in the Room: Strategies to Enhance Emotional Awareness

March 23, 2023  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

Discover strategies to recognize your own emotions, respond appropriately to the emotions of others, and improve your comfort levels during difficult conversations. 

Group Flow: Quickly Establishing Trust in Your Working Relationships

March 30, 2023  |  3:00 PM-5:00 PM  |  Register

Practice strategies to develop trusting relationships in your work and personal life that will accelerate what your team can accomplish. 

More Information

About the Workshop
During each session, we’ll take improv-based activities and apply them to develop complex communication skills. Improv is all about communication, and we understand the importance of creating a safe space to work on listening skills, public speaking, presence, flexibility and confidence. If you’ve ever thought “I wish I said this” or “If only I thought of that!” this is a great place to start building those skills!
Workshop Design

There are 4 workshop units within the series. Each workshop unit contains 2-parts. While it is encouraged to attend both sessions within a unit, it is not required. The first session within each unit will focus on elements of individual communication and the second will focus on team/organizational communication.

You may register for any or all sessions.

Participation Requirements

The Art of Thinking on Your Feet is an interactive and experiential learning workshop that is most beneficial when attendees participate in person.

We are following the UNMC campus guidance for in-person activities. All participants will be required to wear face masks. We will continue to monitor the most up-to-date guidance and communicate any changes with participants as we get closer to the events.

Improv in the News

Article featured in Medscape about the improv workshops run by Dr. Michael Smith

Read article

KMTV's "Positively the Heartland" highlighting Dr. Smith and the workshop

“Relating improv to comedy, I was unsure about registering for this workshop at first. After I was in the session, it became clear the skills I was learning applied to my daily work.”

teresa hartman

Teresa Hartman

Professor, Leon S. McGoogan Health Sciences Library