- Uninteresting and tiresome; dull.
- A speaker reading their entire speech.
Presentations are more lively when a speaker speaks from the heart, from memory, or from minimal notes.
But, what if you simply must read an entire speech or a portion of a speech from script? Is there anything you can do to salvage a successful presentation?
In an article devoted to mastering the teleprompter, Pete Ryckman reminds us that:
[…] sooner or later, you’ll need to give a speech word-for-word from a script.
Maybe your employer or a legal team insists that the speech be read from a script. Maybe the context is too delicate to allow for any ad-lib. Maybe you were not given adequate time to practice thoroughly.
When you simply must read from a script, there are some things you can do to salvage your speaking reputation in this scenario:
- Author James Humes devotes an entire chapter of Speak Like Churchill, Stand Like Lincoln to a technique used by master speakers. The key of this technique is to only speak to the audience when your eyes are up off the text.
- Practice with a teleprompter so that when you need to use it, you will already be comfortable with it. CuePrompter.com is a free resource which simulates the teleprompter experience. The graphic accompanying this article is a snapshot from this tool.
- As much as possible, compensate for your lack of eye contact with excellent vocal variety. This will draw audience attention away from the script you are reading and toward the message you are conveying. To do this, you will need to practice a few times through the script; otherwise, you will almost certainly be monotone and flat.
- Similarly, compensate with broad gestures and other movement. Lack of movement will certainly make the eyes of your audience droopy.
Remember, this advice is only for those very rare instances when you must read from a script. In all other cases, don’t do it. People don’t like being read to in a presentation. Put in the necessary preparation time to ensure that you do not need to torture your audience.