I don’t typically read from a script when I present. Often I will have some bullets for reference in front of me to remind me of my key points, and I’m pretty comfortable speaking without a script as long as I’m comfortable with my material. Many of my clients do the same.
However, there are times when a script is critical. For example, when I coach life sciences leaders to present at high stakes meetings like FDA Advisory Committee meetings or EMA Oral Explanations, we prepare and rehearse a word for word script. The stakes are too high for ad-libbing (everyone must stay on message), the presentation must adhere to strict time constraints, and a script is critical to ensure a backup presenter can step in at the last minute. Life happens, and sometimes a speaker gets sick or can’t present for some other reason.
Even if a presentation isn’t mission critical, some people are more comfortable speaking from a script. That’s fine — but the trick is to be able to present it well when reading. You want to make sure your delivery is conversational and engaging. That requires a lot of rehearsal.
Here’s a tip that I teach my clients for when you need to read from a script. Setup Word to act like a teleprompter!
Watch this video to learn how.
This tip is especially helpful when you’re presenting remotely. You can scroll through the script while maintaining eye contact with your audience. If you’ve rehearsed and refined the script enough, the audience won’t even know you are reading.