Episode 165

Why Your Storytelling Needs a Dash of Surprise

I’m at the Annoyance Theater in Chicago taking a week-long intensive Improv class. In the middle of a scene with my scene partner, I have this brilliant idea. So I start forcing the scene in the direction I have in mind.

My partner follows along…and the whole scene ends up being pretty flat and predictable. After we’re done, the instructor says, “Kymberlee, I have a note for you. Allow yourself to be surprised on stage rather than in control.”

What if we apply the same principle to our presentations? How would that change us and the audience? In this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, you’ll learn why it’s important to allow yourself to be surprised on stage as a speaker or storyteller and how that leads to more dynamic, memorable presentations, Talks, and stories.. I’ll share examples of embracing unexpected moments and answers questions like:

Why are spontaneity and authenticity crucial for effective speaking and storytelling? What impact can unexpected moments have on the audience? And what techniques can you use to create an authentic connection with your audience?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How the element of surprise affects your audience psychologically
  • How you can embrace the unexpected as a speaker or storyteller on stage
  • How an open, flexible approach can transform your audience’s experience

A little bit about me.

Hi there. I’m Kymberlee.

As a Speaking Strategist and founder of Storytelling School, I’ve had the pleasure of working with over 500 speakers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs worldwide for over a decade. No matter if those folks were getting ready to take the TED or TEDx stage or preparing for a high-stakes presentation with everything on the line, my specialty is High Stakes Short Form Communication. I’ve seen what works when influencing change and what doesn’t. It turns out storytelling is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal. That’s why I’m building a movement of master storytellers to affect change in the world on a global scale to help people tell real stories that have influence and impact. With effective storytelling, you change people’s lives.

Since competition for potential client attention is fierce, a story can make the difference between being memorable or irrelevant. You’ll find me sharing my matcha tea mishap to discuss perfectionism, my quest for Bruce Lee and Hello Kitty art to explore kindness, or the six months of live blade training I underwent to illustrate presence. I spend my days showing the power of using stories to help cement ideas and bring lessons to life and teach my clients to do the same.

If you think business owners can’t tell stories or don’t have stories to share with their clients, staff, donors, followers, or investors, I invite you to reconsider your perspective. There’s no better place than in business to tell your stories so audiences, no matter how big or small, can understand how you think and what you value.

Now it’s your turn… If you’re ready to become a master storyteller and effect change in our world, you’ve come to the right place.

Want to take your storytelling skills to the next level?

I've got your back!

Learn how to craft a story that will make your brand unforgettable

The Proven 5-step process to captivate any audience


my proven 5-step process for short-form storytelling that you can apply to your stories forever


and craft your own Spotlight Story that you can use in a plethora of scenarios


on where and why to use storytelling in a variety of business situations to become unforgettable


clarity on the most common mistakes storytellers make and learn how to avoid those

...and so much more!

I want to stand out!

The best storytellers are memorable for a reason.

Traver Boehm

2-time TEDx Speaker, Author, Coach, and Founder of the Uncivilized Movement

Mo Barrett

TEDx Speaker, Anecdotist, Connector, Mischief-maker, Retired Military Commander, Keynote Speaker

Katy Stevens

Musician, Performer, Recording Artist, Voice Teacher

Greg Smith

TEDx Youngstown Organizer and Voice Coach, Chairman and CCO of Compco

Than Baardson

Entrepreneur, Speaker, Connector, CEO of Unseen, Humanitarian

Cathy Sommerville

TEDx Speaker, Coach, Advisor, Leader, Author, Vice President


I'm ready to stand out!