It’s public SPEAKING, not public READING. Here are tips to help you ace this type of speech! [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
Imagine this public speaking scenario:
The emcee of an event where you’ll be speaking starts introducing you to the audience. As you prepare to get up on stage, you hold a copy of your speech on hand.
You feel confident that you’ll deliver your message with no sweat, especially since you have an extensive script with you.
However, in the middle of your speech, you look up and notice that most of your audience doesn’t seem engaged.
Oh no. We think we know what could’ve caused this…
A manuscript speech is a speech delivery method where a speaker has every single word of his or her speech written down and then read in front of an audience. In this type of speech, everything that’s said is planned and there are no ad-libs or guesswork needed.
Below are some scenarios where a manuscript speech is commonly used:
- A state of the nation address
- A new proclamation of the Pope
- A speech given by a congressman on a new legislative bill that’s under consideration
- A report read out by a chief engineer at an annual general meeting
- A televised news report
- A speech in honor of a well-known or revered person
Is having a full-on script in these public speaking scenarios simple?
Not at all.
While it’s true that manuscript speeches give speakers one less thing to worry about in terms of what they have to say, an EFFECTIVE manuscript speech is not easily achieved and it’s because of this factor:
Eye contact is an important part of building rapport with your audience. This simple act gives listeners a sense of personal involvement in your message.
Here’s where the challenge comes in…
Even with a script on hand, your nervousness, anxiety, or shyness might still kick in while you deliver your speech. In that case, the tendency is you’ll end up focusing on not making a mistake on reading your script from top to bottom.
What happens then to your eye contact with the audience?
On the other hand, when you try to look up and make eye contact with your listeners every once in a while, the tendency is you’ll lose your place on the script and end up confusing your audience with a long pause because you’re trying to find the last part that you read.
*Croo croo croo*
That will give your listeners the impression that you aren’t well-prepared for your talk.
With these two scenarios being not-so-ideal methods to deliver a manuscript speech, the question we then have to answer is…
“Is there a way to balance reading from your script and maintaining eye contact with your audience?”
Paul Barton, a public speaking coach, speaker, and writer, shares 4 know-hows to make sure your manuscript speech will go smoothly:
- Research, research, research! The reason why a manuscript speech needs to be iterated word-for-word is because the message itself is of prime importance. There shouldn’t be any room for ambiguity, uncertainty, and errors. Therefore, you must make sure every detail you include in your script is significant and relevant to your subject.
- Print your speech with ideal alterations. As you prepare your script, make sure you take note of the following: Font size, line spacing, and page arrangement.
The font size you use in your printed script must be big and readable enough to be read from a lectern. As for line spacing, make sure your print-out is properly and evenly spaced so that you avoid squinting your eyes while reading through each line.
Take note also of your script’s page arrangement. If your script has multiple pages, number each page accordingly so you avoid fumbling in front of your audience.
- Practice. When practicing your manuscript speech, take note of these public speaking elements: tone, articulation, eye contact, and the timing of page turning.
To deliver a speech efficiently, make sure you’re articulating the words correctly. Avoid having a monotonous voice because this will give your audience the impression that you’re reading your speech for the first time or you’re not enthusiastic to deliver your message.
Rehearsing the timing of eye contact and page turning is also vital. This will give you planned actions for the entirety of your speech and lessen the risk of losing your place on your script when you look at your audience.
- Focus on your vocal variety. Take note of the important points and paragraphs that you want to emphasize in your speech.
Find the right pitch for every part of your speech and slow down on important paragraphs. When you want to emphasize a word, take a pause then add power to your voice. Your vocal variety will help engage your audience and make them recall the most noteworthy parts of your message.
While a manuscript speech often comes as a sigh of relief compared to other delivery methods (extemporaneous and impromptu), it still has its fair share of challenges, especially in keeping your audience engaged.
… but with patience, consistent effort, and practice, you’ll improve your manuscript speech delivery and achieve a tone that will sustain your listeners’ attention throughout your talk.
Apply the tips discussed above!
You’ll see, these guidelines will help you ensure a smooth and successful manuscript speech delivery while maintaining natural eye contact with your audience.
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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