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Chapter 21: How to Read a Speech or Script Effectively, No Matter Who Wrote It

Overview

It is not all books that are as dull as their readers.

—Henry David Thoreau

For every time you may have to give an actual speech, there may be dozens of business situations in which you have to read key words—your own script or prose inherited from others. Think of the following scenarios:

  • Your boss gets a promotion to the London office and leaves you to give his presentation to the executive committee.

  • You have a fine speech writer on staff and feel compelled to use her services.

  • You must read accurate and precise instructions to your staff in a way that ensures everyone gets the right information simultaneously.

  • Reading speeches is the established custom where you work, and trendsetters get nowhere in your company.

  • You just don't fully accept all that I've said about the advantages of extemporaneous speaking and simply feel more confident reading from a script.

Think about all the boring speeches you have been forced to listen to. Most scripts that are read are boring, and because my premise is that, as a speaker, you should never be boring, I find it difficult to recommend reading a speech. But for all those times when you have to or want to read, there are steps you can take to make a speech that is read as lively, interesting, and entertaining as one that is given from notes—starting with a concerted effort not to be boring. The lively reading approach isn't easy, but mastering it is well worth the effort.


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