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Robot, Pirate, Ninja


How might we identify our personal presentation and communication styles and use those to our advantage?

Level of Difficulty:



3-Person Scenes


After reviewing the Definitions, feel free to jump directly to the Practical Application. This is usually an exercise reserved for improvisers.


A Robot is a methodological character, or player. They understand the structure of a scene, or the elements that go into a presentation and build their behavior around this format.

A Pirate, comes into the scene, or activity, guns (metaphorically) blazing, and cutlass swinging.

Ninjas are the silent type. They observe a scene, a meeting, a workshop, and only add something to the conversation when absolutely necessary. They are watching, sizing up the situation.


To play Robot-Pirate-Ninja, start a three person scene having identified who from the team will play each role. The Robot should initiate and create a 2-3 minute scene exploring the character traits.

After concluding the scene, swap roles to see how they impact your behavior.

Practical Application:

At BarCamp Philly 12 (October, 2019) I was asked how to address different presentation styles (introvert vs extrovert) in meetings and communication. Rather than try to change your, or someone else’s behavior, seek to understand if they are a Robot, a Pirate, or a Ninja.

Robots tend to be very planned in meetings and workshops. They have the exercises drafted and understand what they want to achieve.

Pirates would be your natural extroverts, more willing to go with the flow and change conversations or activities as necessary.

And Ninjas are commonly introverts. Listening and observing. Processing what is going on.

Instead of trying to force a more introvert team member to facilitate, or pushing a nature leader to a note-taker role, identify your team’s strengths and build activities and situations for each person to shine.

Additional Reading

For a perspective from a truly Improv lens check out this article.

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