January 16, 2013
Best selling author Dan Pink (A Whole New Mind, Drive) has a new book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. He devotes his Chapter 8 to the topic of Improvisation, and he had a really good teacher for this chapter, Cathy Salit. Cathy is President and CEO of Performance of a Lifetime, a consulting business that uses performance to help people and organizations “grow beyond learning.” She’s also one of my favorite trainers and interpreters of Newman’s and my performance ontology, and a long-time friend and colleague. Here’s a teaser of Pink on Salit:
“On a sleepy Tuesday morning in late spring, I find myself in a weird and compromising position: I’m on the fourteenth floor of a Manhattan office building, standing toe to toe with a woman who’s not my wife and staring deeply into her eyes.
Don’t blame me for this transgression. Blame my ears. Like most of you, I’ve had a well-matched set of ears my whole life. But like many of you, nobody ever really taught me how to use them. So I’ve come to this strange setting, a narrow conference room with windows covered by plain brown paper, to learn how to listen. And like the thirteen executives here with me—they hail from large companies like Bank of America and from digital start-ups with oddly spelled names—I’ve come to study with a master. Her name is Cathy Salit. Back in 1970, she dropped out of eighth grade and started her own school on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. That led to a career as a community organizer and then to one as an actor and then, with a few peculiar twists, to her current position as something of a sales whisperer.
She runs a company called Performance of a Lifetime, which reaches business people improvisational theater—not to secure them low-paying gigs in drafty Greenwich Village clubs, but to make them more effective in their regular jobs. And at the heart of what she teaches is listening.”