The Dad Mindset
The Dad Mindset Show
How improvisation, pausing and the art of good conversation can help with parenting

How improvisation, pausing and the art of good conversation can help with parenting

Hello, how are you doing?

I hope you’re well.

I’ve got a treat for you this week. My friend Nick Parker, who I interviewed in episode #75, mentioned a reading retreat that he went on and suggested I interview the guy who set it up, because that person cares very deeply about fatherhood too.

That guy, Rob Poynton, turned out to be the author of a book I’d read on improvisation, and is the person I talk with in this week’s podcast.

  • We dive into how improvisation can help all aspects of your life, especially parenting

  • We discuss the need for pausing in today’s hectic world

  • And we also explore how to have a good conversation.

As well as many other things.

I love Rob’s approach to improv and as it turns out, parenting:

  1. Notice more

  2. Let go

  3. Use Everything

I think this way of thinking has so much to offer and I’m going to lean into it more myself.

I really hope you enjoy this conversation with Rob.

Big hug


If you’d like to find out more about Rob, visit his website and check out his books.

P.S. If you’re wondering about the photo, Rob had just cleaned the chimney.


  • Improvisation is a valuable skill in everyday life, particularly in parenting and organisational contexts.

  • Pausing and embracing uncertainty are essential for navigating change and responding effectively to unexpected situations.

  • Improvisation is about being present, paying attention, and using everything that comes your way.

  • Creating the conditions for collaboration and inclusivity is crucial in both parenting and organisational settings.

  • Shifting from seeking the 'right' way to embracing 'good' ways of doing things can lead to more creativity and flexibility. Allow conversations to flow naturally and don't be constrained by rigid time limits.

  • Be present in conversations and avoid wasting people's time.

  • Use practices from improv, such as being physically present and creating action, to improve conversations.

  • Embrace vulnerability in conversations and create space for yourself to nourish your well-being.

  • Prioritise quality conversations and recognise their impact on relationships and personal growth.


00:00 Introduction and Background

01:13 Book Release and Background

04:09 The Importance of Pausing

05:09 The Power of Improvisation in Everyday Life

06:08 The Difference Between Improv and Stand-Up

08:00 The Audience's Response to Improv

09:31 The Application of Improv in Parenting

10:25 The Messiness of Parenting and Organizational Life

11:50 Creating the Conditions for Collaboration

15:12 The Rules of Improv

20:22 Slowing Down and Letting Go

22:45 Shifting from the Right Way to Good Ways

24:38 Being a Facilitator in Parenting

27:04 Creating the Conditions for Conversations

29:52 Using Objects as Conversation Tools

35:37 Including Outlier Perspectives

37:33 Setting Up Family Meetings

40:21 Knowing When to End a Conversation

41:15 The Importance of Allowing Conversations to Flow Naturally

42:44 Leadership and Sensing When a Conversation is Done

44:08 Creating Quality Time and Being Present in Conversations

45:33 Practices from Improv for Better Conversations

48:48 Using Physical Practices to Improve Conversations

49:43 Action vs Activity in Conversations

51:31 Interrupting Routines to Create Action in Conversations

55:53 The Essence of Good Conversation

59:43 The Importance of Vulnerability in Conversations

01:07:07 The Reading Retreat and Creating Space for Yourself

01:12:14 Setting Healthy Boundaries for Yourself

01:19:25 Taking Time for Reflection and Prioritising What Matters

The Dad Mindset
The Dad Mindset Show
Hi, I’m Rich Bolus.
Join me as I explore insights from parents and experts as I apply a growth mindset to parenting.