Improv Training and the Benefits For Ethics & Compliance

Jun 7, 2024

In this episode of Creativity & Compliance, Tom & Ronnie speak with improv expert, Marla Caceres, about how the philosophies, skills and techniques from improvisation can enhance communication, collaboration and leadership skills within the ethics & compliance community.


Tom Fox

Ronnie Feldmen

Marla Caceres


60-Second Communication & Awareness Shorts
A variety of short, customizable, quick-hitter “commercials” including songs & jingles, video shorts, newsletter graphics & Gifs, and more. Promote integrity, compliance, the Code, the helpline and the E&C team as helpful advisors and coaches.

Workplace Tonight Show! Micro-learning
A library of 1-10-minute trainings and communications wrapped in the style of a late-night variety show, that explains corporate risk topics and why employees should care.

Custom Live & Digital Programing
We’ll develop programming that fits your culture and balances the seriousness of the subject matter with a more engaging delivery.

Tales from the Hotline
Fast, fun case studies about workplace behavior gone wrong, brought to life by comedians and storytellers.

About This Episode

Improv Training
Benefits for Ethics & Compliance
Special Guest:
Improv Expert, Marla Caceres

In this episode of Creativity & Compliance, Tom & Ronnie speak with improv expert, Marla Caceres, about how the philosophies, skills and techniques from improvisation can enhance communication, collaboration and leadership skills within the ethics & compliance community.


Improvisation is the theatrical art of making things up on the spot, off the top of your head in collaboration with others. While associated with comedy, the philosophies, tools and techniques from improvisation have great application for the ethics & compliance community.  While it may seem spontaneous, successful improvisation relies heavily on technique, training, and practice. Like a basketball team practices fundamentals to be ready for any game, improvisers hone their skills to perform seamlessly as a team. This ensemble-based approach fosters a collaborative environment where each member supports the other, creating a space where innovation and quick thinking thrive.



Psychological safety refers to an environment where individuals feel safe speaking up to share ideas and report concerns without fear of retribution. Improv training provides a low-stakes, interactive, fun way to practice the skills necessary to foster this environment of non-judgmental communication, openness, trust and support. By focusing on deep listening and the “Yes, And” principle of affirming and building, along with improved word choice and body language, compliance professionals, ethics ambassadors and leadership can improve their abilities to build trust and encourage speak up culture.


Communication that is others-focused is at the heart of improvisation. This concept involves shifting your focus from your agenda to genuinely listening and responding to others. In an improv scene, success depends on fully accepting and building on your partner’s input. This active listening and validation level creates a supportive environment where your partner feels heard. This builds trust.

The “Yes, and” principle is fundamental in improv. It involves accepting your partner’s idea (Yes) and building on it (and). This is true, whether or not you actually agree. It’s a technique that’s based on validation and finding commonality. In high stakes conversations, people tend to get defensive and are instincts are to stop action and negate and say “no.” This technique helps to postpone judgment and create space for alternate ideas and opinions to be heard. It then focuses you on finding a bridge to your ideas and opinions. Then you can work on solutions together.

For compliance professionals, applying “Yes and” philosophy and technique can shift the perception of your role from rule enforcers to supportive advisors. This change in approach can make employees more willing to engage with compliance proactively, seeing you as a collaborative, supportive resource rather than a hindrance.



For the Ethics & Compliance Community, here are some interesting applications.
  • Ethics & Compliance Teams – focus on building listening, communication and collaboration skills, to help you be more positive and approachable in your communication style and to better partner with the business.
  • Ethics Ambassador Programs – focus on building communication skills that encourage speak up.
  • Leadership – focus on communication skills that promote psychological safety.
  • Employees – focus on communicating with respect, even when there is disagreement. Promote speak up.
  • Ethics & Compliance & Leadership – A fun, interactive team building that can bond leadership with ethics & compliance around how to promote an environment of speak up, trust and support.
Ethics & Compliance’s main focus should be influence. If we want to promote EC as the helpful advisors and coaches that we are, we need to communicate in ways that creates that feeling. Applied improvisation can help.

Ronnie Feldman is the President & Creative Director at Learnings & Entertainments, a learning content provider made up of comedians and entertainers with a focus on corporate risk.

Related Episodes