December 13, 2011

Another tip for reading from a script



My "Our Town" script from 8th grade
I wrote last year that speaking from a script doesn't have to sound scripted, and I gave some tips on how to sound more natural.

Then yesterday I was on a webinar where the speaker was clearly reading from a script, and I realized that I had left out something very important from that original blog post.

The speaker, being on a webinar, hidden behind telephone lines and PowerPoint slides, knew that no one could see her. And if no one can see you, then it must not matter that you're reading from a script, right?

Wrong.

The only people who are really good at reading from scripts are actors. Generally, an actor can pick up a script on the first read-through and sound 100 times better than the rest of us. Then they proceed to rehearse and memorize until those lines sound extemporaneous and unscripted.

You, most likely, are not a trained actor. If you read directly from a script, you are going to sound like a robot. And this is just how the speaker sounded yesterday, monotonous, boring and flat. She didn't even sound like she was trying to speak naturally.

Had she read through her script even a couple of times, out loud, it might have made a huge difference. Reading aloud helps you to develop a flow and smoothness to your lines. Reading from a script successfully actually means visually skimming ahead of what you are currently saying, so you can seamlessly blend your words together into cohesive, expressive and articulate sentences, with pauses and inflections in the appropriate places. It is a skill that one needs to learn and practice.

And there it is, the fourth tip I should have added to the original blog post: Practice.

I don't care if you are on a webinar, a radio show or a conference call. Just because people can't see you doesn't mean you get to slide on preparation.

You may be one of the rare few who can pick up a script and make it sound like you're speaking off the top of your head the first time you read it. But if you aren't one of the rare few, you better rehearse, out loud, several times. You will hear a noticeable difference in the flow of your words. You might even fool your audience into thinking you're being spontaneous!

Read my original post here:

Speaking from a script doesn't have to sound scripted

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