In a recent podcast interview with my friend Mark Guay, I touched upon the myth that Improvisers are merely “winging it” and perhaps wildly unprepared.
Behind the scenes, we practice (and practice some more) a set of principles that guide us and give us a wonderful structure to navigate the ambiguity we have on stage when we are improvising.
When it comes to presentations and speeches, it is possible to over-prepare and in doing so, squash opportunities for spontaneity or connection with your audience.
If you want to add some spontaneity to your presentations, classes, or public speaking opportunities, completely throwing away a script isn’t necessary either.
Patricia Ryan Madson, Improv Guru and author of Improv Wisdom offers a spectacular tip for morphing scripted notes into an opportunity for more spontaneity:
Her advice? Turn your notes into a series of questions to answer. For example, your notes might look like this:
1) Why am I here today?
2) What is the learning objective?
3) What am I most excited to share with you?
This small change still gives you the comfort and clarity that comes with a structure to fall back on, while also allowing room for a conversational, breathable, and perhaps more empathetic approach. Try this out and let me know how it goes!