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How To Deliver A Great Presentation From A Script

I’ll often ask a client who delivers a practice talk with a full script to do it again, but with a twist: I take their script away. Their second versions are usually better—and often include interesting information they omitted the first time. It turns out that when they’re not restrained by a tight script, they’re freer to communicate in the spoken language they typically would.

That exercise offers an important clue: If you plan to write a script, don’t write it as your first step.

In this post, you’ll find several tips to help you read a speech without sounding like you’re reading from a script.

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How To Deliver A Great Presentation Using Notes

Most of today’s presentations are delivered from notes, not formal scripts. Such an approach allows speakers to benefit from having the best of two worlds: a well-organized structure and a conversational tone.

Notes typically take the form of bulleted lists or outlines, but can also include a few verbatim passages for quotes or transitions that require precision. As you practice, eliminate as many words from your notes as possible and keep only what’s necessary to trigger your memory.

Think of those memory triggers like golf: the fewer the words, the better your score. In this post, you’ll find several tips for scoring with notes.

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How To Deliver Your Next Presentation: A Six-Part Series

The question of how you should deliver your presentation is among the biggest decisions you’ll face prior to a talk.

Should you go with the security of a script, which offers the promise of exactness? The looseness of speaking from notes, which makes you appear more “in the moment?” The proficiency of speaking from memory, which demonstrates your mastery of the subject matter?

Each of those possibilities, along with two others—speaking from a teleprompter and a hybrid script-notes option—has its place. In this post, you’ll find an easy question to help you make your decision.

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A Brand New Way To Practice Your Presentations (Really!)

I’m generally skeptical of new technologies that purport to make you a better public speaker.

But a useful new product, called VirtualSpeech, allows you to download an app and practice your presentations in front of a “real” audience. Using the app, you can practice in front of animated people in a large auditorium, conference room, or small interview space.

I’m not very tech savvy but found the product easy to use. Here’s how it works — and when it can be helpful.

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Five (More) Great Ways To Open A Presentation

Since releasing 101 Ways to Open a Speech last July, I’ve published 10 of the book’s opens for free on the blog, along with its full introduction.

For this post, I revisited the 91 opens that I’ve never published here before and selected five of my favorites to share with you.

In this post, you’ll learn how to earn the audience’s attention through the non-expert quote, the unexpected definition, the use of rapid-fire statistics, and more. Here’s to better speech openings that grab your audience’s attention from the start and lead to better results!

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Two Common Storytelling Mistakes (And How To Fix Them)

During our presentation training workshops, we always emphasize the importance of narrative.

Stories, anecdotes, case studies, and analogies are stickier than abstract concepts—particularly for audiences that lack a depth of knowledge in your topic—and serve as easy memory hooks that draw audiences to your message.

Most of our trainees buy into the concept of using narrative during their talks—but they often make two mistakes that undercut its power. In this post, I’ll help you correct both mistakes.

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How To Be (And Why You Should Be) Skeptical Of Your Facts

Facts are funny things. Sometimes, we interpret them in a way that seems so obvious to us that we don’t even consider how someone could possibly view them differently.

That’s why it’s a good idea to go through the facts in our presentations, try to view them as a skeptical audience member might, and address any unhelpful interpretations before they take hold.

This post will show you where one recent speaker went wrong.

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The “Yes, And…” Approach To Managing Audience Questions

In her book Bossypants, Tina Fey writes:

“The second rule of improvisation is not only to say yes, but YES, AND. You are supposed to agree and then add something of your own. If I start a scene with “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you just say, “Yeah…” we’re kind of at a standstill. But if I say, “I can’t believe it’s so hot in here,” and you say, “Yes, this can’t be good for the wax figures,” now we’re getting somewhere.”

The “Yes, and…” approach applies not only to comedy, but to many of the questions you’ll field as a public speaker.

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