The Importance of Improvisation for Speakers

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Except from Sally’s bookSpeak with Confidence and Ease… I’ll show you the way!

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“Improvisation is intuition in action, a way to discover the muse and learn to respond to her call…The outpourings of intuition consist of a continuous, rapid flow of choice, choice, choice, choice,. When we improvise with the whole heat, riding this flow, the choices and images open into each other so rapidly that we have no time to get scared and retreat from what intuition is telling us.”

….from Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play, Improvisation in Life and Art.

The gifts of improvisation – immediacy, involvement and unpredictability are balanced by the demands it makes to listen, to be aware, to dare to create, to remain in the present. Oh, the joy of listening to a speaker that’s not afraid to be present with what is and improvise in the moment. I like to call it “off roading”, in other words having moments of abandoning the power point. The very opposite of this is to be lost in the past or adrift in thoughts of the future, losing oneself in a stream of words flowing from your mouth.

When we present for approval, to achieve the “perfect” presentation, to avoid shame and dishonor, anxiety is our companion. When we allow our playful creative inner spirit to be in charge , fear disappears and we flow in our creative process. We may at times feel like we have to be in control and have to have everything ready and perfect to present, but control only creates tension, anxiety and fear. Instead, it’s about allowing flow, improvising in the moment, connecting to the needs of your audience and meeting your audience with love and compassion.

Improvisation is about exploring off the beaten path. Improvisation is about giving yourself permission to create something new that you hadn’t planed on doing. Improv is about allowing, rather than controlling, censoring or forcing. Improvisation is a form of play. It’s a letting go of the outcome, to be in the now. With improvisation comes awareness, insights, understandings, emotions, and the ability to become a truly authentic speaker. Try taking improvisation into your whole life and watch your life expand in ways that you could never imagine.

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