; Using Comedic Improv Skills to Address Farm Stress and Difficult Conversations | Conferences | AgRisk Library


Conference Name Using Comedic Improv Skills to Address Farm Stress and Difficult Conversations

Maria Pippidis and Jerri Husch


Research in the “science of humor” suggests that at an individual level humor may positively impact health and has the potential to offer pain relief, strengthen immune function, improve positive emotions, moderate stress, improve interpersonal processes and facilitate communication. At a social level comedy – as a form of interaction---creates a shared experience that can facilitate and broaden trust and a sense of shared community. Comedy has a long history of calling attention to, and commenting on, the ways in which we live in the world together, socially, economically, politically and spiritually. Though there are many types of humor, improvisation and respectful communication can add lightness to a conversation, provide safety for exploring new approaches and assist in developing resilience skills in farm audiences.

The Cooperative Extension Group working with the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network in the Northeast developed a set of three videos for farm audiences that in a humorous way, brings awareness to farm stressors and provides strategies to manage those stressors. The videos were created by comedians using comedic improvisational communication tools that 1) demonstrate how Extension Educators and professionals can respectfully use these skills to work with clientele and 2) provides tools for educators to raise awareness around stress and resources to mitigate those stressors.

This poster will provide an overview of improvisational communication as a tool, outline the development and content of the videos, and offer dates for and upcoming training.