Have you ever seen a theater play where actors read their scripts onstage? Luckily, professional actors rehearse and deliver their lines naturally. The same goes for most public speakers.
Preparing a script isn’t a bad thing, but it can make your speech less effective.
How can you fully engage your audience if you’re focused on reading a piece of paper or whatever’s projected onscreen?
In reality, great presenters write notes whenever they have speeches. This is to show that even professionals also rely on scripts to avoid getting lost in their topic.
Why You Shouldn’t Depend on Your Script
As a public speaker, your goal is to engage the audience. There’s nothing wrong with looking at your notes, but you can’t rely on them all the time or you may distance yourself from the crowd.
Scripts serve as your guide, but reading notes prevent you from connecting with your audience. Imagine yourself as an audience member whom the speaker doesn’t make any eye contact with. How would that feel?
Do your listeners a favor and connect emotionally with them with just a small glance here and there.
The Power of Your Brain
Writing down your script organizes your thought. Reading your script also lets you present ideas completely. Some presenters try to memorize their pitch so as not to depend on their notes.
There may be unexpected situations like corrupted files or technical problems before your PowerPoint presentation. That’s why you should rely more on how your brain works for you.
It’s still advisable to incorporate notes into your PowerPoint slides. However, being knowledgeable about your topic boosts your confidence to speak without looking or reading any guides.
According to Gallo (2010), you can make your speech more natural and conversational with these steps:
1. Write your notes in PowerPoint’s Notes section.
Construct your ideas to form four to five sentences. Don’t edit excessively. Just let your thoughts flow.
2. Emphasize the keyword from each sentence by highlighting it.
Practice by reading and familiarizing yourself with your script. Glance at the key words to remember them.
3. Remove unnecessary words from your notes.
Keep only the keywords as reminders.
4. Memorize the key idea in each slide.
Think of that one main point that you want your audience to recall.
5. Rehearse the whole presentation without notes.
Use your PowerPoint deck as your visual aid. Remember each significant idea behind your message.
Practice is still the best way to stop depending on your scripts. Using the above guidelines lets you speak naturally in front of your audience and focus on dealing with them.
Plan your PowerPoint presentation, pinpoint your main ideas, and practice, practice, practice —you’ll never have to glance at a note card ever again.
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“3 Tips for Handling Unexpected Events During Presentations.” SlideGenius, Inc. 2015. Accessed May 29, 2015.
Gallo, Carmine. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York. McGraw-Hill, 2010.
“Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed May 29, 2015.