Using a script in a presentation


Last night, I did a twenty minute presentation on a conference call. It’s one I’ve done many times before. I know the material well enough to deliver it without notes.

This time, I did something different. I wanted the presentation to be more succinct, so I wrote a script. After all, it’s not a live presentation. Nobody would know that I’m reading.

But now, I don’t think that’s true. Using a script in a presentation affected my delivery. I thought I sounded stiff, yes, like I was reading. A few times, when I went off script to embellish a point, I could hear the difference. I felt relaxed and just talked, and that sounds different.

After any presentation, most people don’t remember what you said, they remember how you made them feel. And you make them feel something not so much by the words you use but by your delivery. If you sound unnatural, as you do when you read, (unless you are a professional actor), it loses something. When you speak from the heart, your audience can feel your passion and be affected by it.

Afterwards, I received calls and texts praising the presentation, and this from people who have heard me deliver it before (sans script). They asked if I would do it again, so others could hear it, so I know I covered the right material–not too much, not too little, and for that, I give credit to the script. But next time I do it, I’m not going to use a script. I’m not going to wing it, either. I’m going to take my script and create a series of bullet points and work off of that.

I realize the presentation will probably be a bit longer than I’d like. I’m sure I’ll wander off on a tangent or two. But this way, I’ll cover everything I want to cover, in the right order, and be able to talk to the audience, not read to them.