Diving into the Scripting Process – The Best Way to Prepare Your Speech Script!
If you are already familiar with delivering speeches or presentations, the scripting process may come as second nature to you. For others, scripting can be a torturous and arduous process. It can be especially tiring to note your ideas in detail; the temptation is to skip the script and present off-the-cuff instead. This does not need to be the case, however – scripting, as an important aspect of your preparation, can be a structured and straightforward process.
Scripting refers to the act of planning and writing your speech/presentation ideas down for reference during delivery. While most scripts take the form of a verbatim (i.e., word for word) document, some veteran communicators have experimented and applied different scripting styles. The goal is to pick a scripting process that you are comfortable with, especially for use while on stage. A fully-verbatim script may be both a bane and a boon!
To help you along, we will share some of our insights into how you can prepare your script and ensure a smooth delivery!
But, First! Do I need a Script?
Before diving into some of the techniques, let us explore the starting question – do I need a script while presenting? On the one hand, some communicators find that having a script in their hands help to reassure and stabilise their delivery. The script may end up being a crutch (especially if it impacts other body language elements such as eye contact). The advantage, however, is the safe and comforting feeling of knowing that your points are always at your fingertips.
Other communicators prefer to digest their script in bite-sized forms (e.g., flashcards, cues). This allows the communicators the body language freedom to move (and even encourage creativity in the content). Whether you fall into the former or latter category, the common goal to keep in mind is to reduce your script dependence! In short, the main question is not whether you need a script but whether you can present without relying on your script (even if you have one in hand).
Let us build on this by exploring two scripting methods to help you prepare an efficient, engaging, and effective speech/presentation.
Summarise, and Summarise, and … Internalise
One of the effective ways to reduce script dependence is to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. The more you associate the ‘safety’ on stage with a full script, the more you may be dependent on your script. For example, if you find that you cannot present without having to read more than 1 sentence from your script, this is a likely sign that you have not internalised your script for delivery.
Of course, this does not mean that you will need to abandon the scripting process entirely. Instead, start with your full script – this may include having a verbatim script or a complete overall structure. From there, start by summarising your script by half – peel away the more fluid points (i.e., may be abandoned even if you forget them on stage). As you continue this summarising process, you will find your script left with the core messages in your speech. These are the very core points that will help you manoeuvre around your speech!
Logistics Can Make or Break
Moving away from the planning phase, scripting may also require you to keep an eye on the logistics involved. How are you going to use your script on stage? The common fall-back is to have the entire script in hand as you present (e.g., in an A4 paper). This can be tedious and cumbersome, especially if you have more than one document to refer to. Imagine delivering a formal business presentation while referring to your PowerPoint slides, printed notes, and presentation script.
*** When the script becomes too obstructive and distracting ***
Instead, dissect your script into bite-sized components that are easier to manage while on stage. For example, cue cards or flashcards can help you move between the different parts of your speech with ease. If you have adopted the scripting method of summarising (as per our previous section), you will find it easier to divide your script into smaller, manageable parts.
Start Scripting Now!
Scripting is a component that is often overlooked when preparing for a speech or presentation. Some may even hold the mistaken view that you must present without a script. What is more important is the process of arranging your ideas and ensuring that you can present them effectively with your time on stage. We hope you will start to explore your scripting process for your next speech or presentation!
By The Way…
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