Why Make Your Script Easy to Read?
Because you’ve got better things to do with your time than memorize a speech that you’ll only give once!
I make that argument in Public Speaking Tip 51: If You’re Reading from Notes When You Deliver a Speech, Read with Pride; Don’t Hide!. The post is one of my 100 Top Public Speaking Tips, and it’s worth checking out (along with the other 99).
But if you already know that you’re going to be reading your speech from notes, you don’t need that argument. Instead, use these proven formatting tips to make your script easy to read.
How to Make a Script Easy to Read from the Stage
1. Use a LARGE font (14 pt. minimum).
2. Leave LOTS of white space on your page (the idea is that you should be able to just glance at the page and see where you are).
3. Make each paragraph SHORT so you’re not tempted to race through it. I put only one sentence in each paragraph.
4. Leave a blank line between paragraphs (again, so that you can easily see where you are in the script).
5. Number your pages with large letters in case (God forbid!) you drop them 🙂
6. Don’t staple pages together, and don’t print two-sided; those things make your script very hard to handle.
7. Use a yellow highlighter to highlight words or phrases you want to be SURE get delivered.
8. And for my last and best tip: Look at the bottom of every script page. If the discussion you’re making continues onto the next page, put a large star in the lower right-hand corner. This will alert you to the fact that you can’t let your energy down when you reach the bottom of the page. You need to stay focused and continue your discussion, as if there was no page break in the middle of your point.
Do PowerPoint “Presenter Notes” Make Reading Your Speech Easier?
In a word, no!
- Keep you tied to your computer during a presentation (but with paper in hand, you can walk and talk);
- Have to be scrolled, which is an awkward thing to do while you’re speaking;
- Only show you a single slide’s worth of scripting at a time, so you never know what’s coming next;
- Don’t reliably print out everything you wrote in your notes.
Fortunately, these are easy problems to solve.
If you’ve written your speech in PowerPoint’s (or Keynote’s) “presenter notes” feature, copy and paste each slide’s notes into a Word (or Pages) document.
Then follow the tips above to format in a way that will make reading your speech easy!