Workshops and Presentations

Hey, you know what? You should have me come by for a visit. In addition to being a fantastic guest, I’ve been presenting workshops for decades. It is weird typing those words, but it’s true.

I had a fake mustache on because I was making an argument that the audience wasn’t going to like, and I wanted to look evil. I really like that shirt.

My Improv for Educators workshop is highly interactive and leaves participants better prepared to listen effectively, react quickly, and make bold choices – three skills that are vital for excellent teaching and educational leadership. It’s experience-based, not lecture-based and is infused with respect for the expertise that the participants already have coming in. I’ve done this one in the United States and Canada, and the response has been warm and appreciative, and I am often contacted by people who took it years ago, telling me how it affected them.

I really enjoyed how you had us practice each activity and there was a skill developed in doing the activity but you also connected each activity to a broader educational idea. 

Marcy Seavy, UNI STEM coordinator

My Social Nonsense workshop is a great way to get a group of people into a fun, creative, and collaborative mood that can last for days. And participants also discover the power of working together, and that they are capable of far more than they thought they were.

Social Nonsense games helped my husband and I find new ways to communicate after our youngest left the nest!

Cindi Helgeson

Does your University offer a business degree? Did you know that the skills employers have been saying they want are not necessarily aligned with the skills that departments are stressing in their programs? My Improv for Business Students has been highly vetted and tested, and is now an integral part of the University of Northern Iowa College of Business’ Professional Readiness Program. It has been written up in BizEd magazine, and it was the subject of a presentation at the Applied Improvisation Network conference in Montreal.

If I had to choose just one [lesson I learned from today] it would be to eliminate psychological constraints that we have as human beings. We always have that little voice in our head saying, “No, that’s a terrible idea” and if we eliminate that, amazing things will happen.

University of Northern Iowa Business student.

Finally, I am a mathematician, and give presentations on mathematics that are designed to be understood by a general audience. I’ve given keynotes at Mathematics Association of America regional conferences, and conferences for youth in STEM. I get “I never thought I’d be laughing at a MATH talk” a lot.

Why the hell haven’t I saved the decades of good feedback I’ve gotten on talks? Oh well, I’ll have to start.


All of these things can be packaged together. My philosophy is that if I’m traveling somewhere to present, I’m happiest if they put me to work! I can do a keynote in the evening, a workshop or two the next day, and we can pass a legal pad around drawing silly things that evening at dinner!

Doctor Shaw is an Applied Improvisation Network Certified Practitioner