Listen. This is a problem. Joseph Keefe (Improv Yourself) says the most critical skill improvisers must acquire is listening. Most people listen just long enough so they can say what they wanted to say in the first place.
Improvisers are taught to listen to understand, rather than to reply. Because improvisation is in the present moment, and because each improviser feeds off the other, they must not only understand the words being said, they must be aware of the others’ intentions and the context of the situation.
In one sketch, the audience tells the two actors the scene is that they’re standing on the porch talking after their first date. The third actor is told he’s the mom surprising them by opening the front door.
Daughter: “Oh, hi mom. Didn’t know you were there.”
Mom: “Honey, your husband’s on the phone.”
Yikes!: Sales is improvisation. Listen. Or you may be surprised.