I can only think of a few situations where your presentation should be scripted word for word, and even in those cases I would argue that the message would have been better received if the presenter wasn’t reading. But I get it, Easter speeches at church are difficult, so we should cut 5 year olds some slack, and possibly graduation speakers, but not as much. You should probably memorize your opening, though.
Your audience will give you the first 5 minutes of their time as a gift, the rest you have to work for. If you can hook them in the opening then it’s a better chance you’ll be able to keep them.
Typically, I write down my opening word for word and read it off the the back of my eyeballs. Why? Because the most dangerous part of flying is the takeoff and the landing. A memorized flawless opening runways you to increased confidence and it puts you in your flow as a speaker. It builds momentum for the heart of your presentation and it minimizes the chance of stumbles. Flow is important when you are speaking and a flawless takeoff keeps your confidence high.
Sometimes I’ll freestyle, but often I walk away thinking I could have done that better or that I missed a key point. So, more often than not, I write it down then I memorize. I’ve never read off a piece of paper, not saying that I never will, but to this point I’ve been good with a scripted opening.
I’m the shy guy with a lot to say. Let me know if these are helpful because if they are I recycle them to LinkedIn for my current and future boss, whoever that might be. #shyspeaker
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