Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Dangers of Reading from a Script or Teleprompter

I helped produce an awards event this evening -- each presenter was reading from a teleprompter. And each presenter sounded like he/she was reading from a teleprompter -- flat delivery, stumbling over complex sentences and dry humor delivered like a news story. OOF! The best moments of the evening came when award recipients were given the podium to make a few off-the-cuff comments (no script).

A truth is that most business and community event presenters are not professional actors or Emcees. It's just us regular folk. Someone hands us a script or tells us to look at the teleprompter and off we go hoping not to look the fool.... Here are a few suggestions for injecting a bit more personality and fun back into scripted events:
  • Hire a coach to work with your presenters for an hour or two. A good coach will offer valuable instruction on voice modulation, engaging the audience and working with the script, not for it.
  • Don't put humor in the script word-for-word. Instead put a placeholder in the script and have the presenter practice his/her delivery.
  • Place reminders in the script for the presenter to look at and talk with the audience.
  • Have the presenters read through and rehearse BEFORE the day of the event.
A great presenter, to me, is one who sounds like he/she is using his/her own words to engage me in the importance of what is being said. This can only happen with coaching, preparation and passion.