SUNY Oswego Metro Center to offer ‘Improv U’ for business agility

OSWEGO — The SUNY Oswego Metro Center in Syracuse will offer a class titled “Improv U” on improving business performance through improvisation on four Tuesday evenings in October and November.

Syracuse, actor, writer and director Mark Allen Holt, with 10 years of experience in improvisation, will lead the course from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 16, 23 and 30 and Nov. 13 at the SUNY Oswego Metro Center, 2 Clinton Square in downtown Syracuse.

Often associated strictly with comedy, improv encompasses a set of skills for thinking and acting or reacting in the moment. In today’s fast-paced and uncertain business world, leaders need to be aware of their environments and able to exploit change, organizers said.

Among the skills Holt — a manager at St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center and artistic director of Appleseed Productions — and the class will explore are listening, constructive agreement to explore ideas, turning off negative filters to creative ideas, activating the “group mind” principle, inspiring trust, embracing a willingness to fail, agility, moving projects forward and committing to choices.

“Teaching people to be funny is not on the agenda,” Holt said. “There are some improv comedy games that actually work to illustrate points — and I don’t think it is a bad thing for people to have a few laughs while they learn — but the course is designed to stop the filtering process and allow for reaction and positive action.”

The course tuition is $250 ($225 for SUNY Oswego students and alumni). Attendees can register online or download a registration form for Improv U at