BBC Radio 4 reminded us of the importance of improvisation when they played an excerpt of a sermon from 2007 by Tony Crockett, then Bishop of Bangor. He must have been an outstanding speaker, As well as a lover of jazz.

He talked about  the great musicians, such as George Shearer. He noted their willingness to play with a theme, to improvise and see where it goes, letting the rhythm take them. Improvisation he suggested was an exciting way to engage with life

Pitch with improvisation

Pitches too can be more engaging, more exciting with a touch of improvisation.

This not the same as ‘winging it’, allowing over-confidence, or nerves, to end in a stream of consciousness that passes for enthusiasm. As Shearer said of jazz: “ Learn the rules and then break them in such a way as to exercise good taste.”

It is not so different when presenting. If solid preparation is backed up by serious rehearsal  you can build confidence and certainty in your delivery.  This means you can trust your instincts and improvise. You and your audience will enjoy it.

“Only he who is well prepared has any opportunity to improvise.”Ingmar Bergman,