Being able to go off script when you’re telling a story is a crucial part of the skill you need to learn. When you tell the same story to multiple crowds, you might have to adapt your story on the fly for a few different reasons.
One reason could be that someone in the audience interjects with something relevant to the story. Instead of just continuing without addressing it, you need to be able to weave it into the story naturally.
Going off script can also be useful when you’re talking to an audience who may have recently experienced something traumatic in one way or another. Let’s say someone in your audience recently was involved in a car accident. If you then go and tell a story that at some point involves a car accident, you might deemphasize that part, remove it entirely, or change it up so that you’re not insensitive to that person. The same applies if there's a tragedy. No point in emphasising your ski-ing skills if the group you're talking to has just lost loved ones in an avalanche.
This isn’t always necessary, but sometimes avoiding the possibility of upsetting someone when trying to get a point across with your story is worth the effort it takes to adjust it.
When you go off script, it’s important to rein yourself back in when you need to and make it smooth. You don’t want to go off track and go so far off that you can’t get back on track easily.
If you go wildly off track you can forget where you were in the story and may have to repeat yourself a bit. Even if you do remember, it can be awkward to snap back to a completely unrelated part of the story.
By only going lightly off-script, you can easily transition back into your main story without it being too jarring for the audience. You want these smooth transitions because if you don’t do it smoothly, you might have people in the audience getting lost.
Once you’re able to master cleanly going off script, you’re going to be a much better storyteller because you’re going to be able to tell stories in so many different situations and never have it be awkward.
This skill is great because it makes your stories feel natural when you tell them, even if they’ve been rehearsed repeatedly since you’re adapting to different situations. This helps make your audience feel more comfortable.