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How To Deliver A Great Speech From Memory

Audiences can often tell when a speaker has memorized their talk. It’s almost as if someone has pressed play on the presenter—but when the speaker forgets a word or loses their place, you can practically see the tape unspooling from their brain’s cassette.

And yet, it’s undeniable that some impressive speakers possess the rare talent of delivering a memorized script while sounding conversational and reacting in the moment to unexpected events.

If you’re determined to memorize your talk, you’ll want to remember these three words.

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Four Tips When Speaking From A Teleprompter

There it is: your entire presentation, sitting in front of you on a teleprompter like a warm, comfortable, digital security blanket. Politicians use them. TV hosts use them. Why shouldn’t you?

The most direct answer is that speaking from a teleprompter is hard. If most speakers who read from a prepared script sound like they’re reading from a script, imagine how much tougher it is to read one from two small panels of glass, flanked on the speaker’s left and right sides!

Because it’s difficult for most speakers to develop a rapport with their audiences while using a teleprompter, we typically discourage their use. But in limited circumstances, teleprompters can remain a useful tool.

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How To Deliver A Great Presentation Using “Holes”

We frequently work with executives who open a practice speech with a statement along these lines: “Thank you for coming. I’m excited that you joined us today for this unprecedented announcement.”

The problem? They’re reading those opening lines from their scripts while looking down and making scant eye contact with their audiences. Here’s what I tell them when we review their tapes together: If a line intended to be sincere has to be read from the page, it will lose all sincerity.

That’s why we encourage many speakers using a script to insert a “hole.” Here’s how to do it.

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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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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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Three Public Speaking Tips From The Curator Of TED Talks

I often compare TED Talks to Lay’s Potato Chips: no one can watch just one. More often than not, the talks, dedicated to spreading great ideas, are engaging, surprising, and even challenging.

So when Chris Anderson, the curator of the popular TED series, was interviewed on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show last week, I listened. Intently.

Anderson has a must-read book coming out next month called TED Talks: The Official TED Guide To Public Speaking. During the interview, he offered a few of the nuggets he’s picked up along the way.

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