This is a presentation, not a reading.

If you are giving a presentation, do not use a script. All the excuses you may come up with are limitations to giving a great presentation. The best presentations are given without a script and yours should be the best. So, overcome those excuses and give the best.

The main reason to need a script is lack of practise. Once the presentation has been effectively prepared, your delivery and engagement will be hugely improved by getting rid of the script. It will be actively impaired by having the script within view. Watch the majority of politicians currently giving speeches as they stumble checking for individual words in their script. These individual words do not carry the piece and worry over their inclusion actually detracts. Practise will put you in a much better position to delivery excellence.

The use of a script “just in case” causes presenters to stumble. An analogy often used is that whilst stabilisers make a bicycle almost impossible to topple and Tour de France riders crash, none of them consider that stabilisers would be of value. The coffee shop ordering is a perfect example of how people know what they want to say but having to read it from a script causes them to       be      uncertain      of their words. A script is not necessary.

The risk of forgetting what you have to say is real but unrealistic. Practise will groove your presentation and your supportive media should be the only additional prompt that you need. Single facts may slip but those will not be noticed by an audience who have not been equipped with your script beforehand. If the audience don’t see then it is not important.

Lastly, having a script means it will be read and this strongly affects delivery. It is clearly noticed by the audience and detracts from the overall value of the presentation. Audiences value integrity over perfection and would much much prefer to see the honesty of delivery, potentially with realistic stumbles than a monotonous (yes, that’s what happens when you read) and unengaging delivery of a script. (The whole, script on the slides issue is not being addressed, we are over that, aren’t we?)
Importantly ALL of this applies to “presenter mode” on slideware. Make sure that is set to slides only otherwise all the careful preparation will be lost as it is directed at a laptop screen rather than the audience. A presentation has value in its engagement and delivery with a script removes that.

The best presentation is made without a script. Using a script impairs delivery and reduces value. Practise and put the script away and whatever happens you will have a better presentation.

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