Writing a script for a Presentation: Why it is so important
7th September 2011 by Rachel Willis 2 comments
I think the most important thing to say right from the outset is that you should not dismiss using a script in the first place. I know there is some debate about the pros and cons of scripting speeches, but the fact is that the best speeches that have ever been made were almost certainly influenced by a script writing process. The world’s most famous orators made their speeches brilliant not because they didn’t use a script, but because they learnt it in advance!
Writing a script isn’t easy and those who say it is are lying! Some say that it’s better to speak off the cuff because this way you’ll appear more ‘natural’. It’s true that a badly delivered presentation where someone’s reading directly from a piece of paper with their head held down is excruciating from an audience perspective, however, this is the fault of the speaker and not the script. If you decide to use a script, the important thing is to learn it!
If you learn your script you have the ability to ad-lib and come across very natural without losing track of where you are during your presentation. If you know your script well you can add new elements to your presentation on the day, and then easily jump back to your presentation without stumbling.
(One of our 3D men presenting like a pro earlier!)
When creating an Internet Video or Virtual Event at VirtualStudio.TV a script is the golden ingredient, in fact it’s the glue that brings everything together! It’s also the one that’s guaranteed to save you money because a well written script makes a video easy to produce and edit live, instantly eliminating the need for any potentially expensive post editing costs.
We use autocue (referred to as Tele-prompt in the USA) in our green screen studio in Cambridge. The beauty of using autocue is that you don’t have to be trained to read from it ‘naturally’. As long as your script is written in your ‘natural’ language, sounding yourself while using autocue isn’t difficult. (With a little practice you’ll be amazed how easy it is!) You can also use autocue to mark pause points and highlight words for emphasis within your script. Combined properly, a well written script and autocue is a great combination for Presentation Videos and live Virtual Events.
Using posh language and big words that you wouldn’t normally use is what will make you appear stuffy when making a speech, especially if you deliver it using an autocue. Instead, use short sentences and keep grammar to an absolute minimum. (We don’t speak in grammatical terms, nor do we speak in massive paragraphs either.) Basically, keep it simple and do it well. Have confidence in what you’re saying. You don’t need to make it sound complicated and you don’t need to justify yourself throughout your presentation.
Another benefit of using a script is that you dramatically reduce the risk of rambling. Each sentence is thought out in advance and because you only end up using necessary information (hopefully) anything that’s not important is left on the ‘cutting room floor’. (It’s worth thinking of your script as a film project. A huge amount of footage captured for any feature film ends up on the cutting room floor. The trick is to include only what really matters and makes an impact!)
I certainly don’t think you should always read a script word for word, but I do think that if used properly, a well prepared script is a wonderful aid to a speaker or presenter. Having a well written script will give you confidence, and let’s face it, when it comes to presenting on any platform, confidence is often the difference between success and failure.
One of my previous posts included a Top Tips video designed to help you write a great script. I have included it below and I hope you find the information useful.