Spontaneity may not be the first thing you think of when you think about great storytellers. You remember the story. But one of the reasons you remember the story is how it was expressed. 

Can you recall loving a story you heard this year?

What characteristics did the storyteller possess? Did the storyteller have a sense of ease? Did they seem in control of their content, but not rigid in their delivery? Did they seem to be enjoying themselves as they told the story? 

A lot of storytelling has nothing to do with the words you’re saying. Of course, you want to know the story content. You want to know your main message, the story arc, and add in the details you want the audience to remember. Memorize those parts of the story, of course.

  • Knowing the main point of your story helps you to know when to use it
  • A story arc ensures your story is going somewhere
  • Details help the listener connect and remember your story

But, then work on nurturing spontaneity. Spontaneity training enables you to bring creativity, energy, and skillful action into the moment when you need it. 

The other part of storytelling is spontaneity  

Embracing spontaneity as you tell the story is part trust and part practice.

The good news is that spontaneity is always around. It’s underneath all of your movements. What happens, as we age, is a slow squashing of letting it come out. Instead of feeling open to express yourself, you tighten.

You become extra rigid, more controlled, and while technically you can tell a good story, it fails to affect people.

This isn’t as big a deal in written stories. You have the luxury of coming back to them and editing them.

It is a big deal when you are sharing your career stories as you meet people, network, do presentations, are interviewed, or give a talk. Your rigidness can become a distraction. Your wonderful story sounds so awkward and rehearsed that it fails to work. 

If you allow spontaneity in your writing, especially on social media, people might say, “They seemed confident online, but they’re awkward in real life.” Ideally, we want our in-person presence to be just as, or more, engrossing than our online presence. 

This takes playing with spontaneity. 

One way to play with this is by being intentional about nurturing spontaneity. Knowing how to notice it, focus on it, expand it, contract it, and be comfortable with it running part of the show. This is where the magic happens.

This is what actors, musicians, speakers, and people who ace job interviews know how to do. Let go enough to allow true expression through.

Here’s a short practice on how to encourage spontaneity in your storytelling.