Energize that scripted speech with these 4 steps

Having to read to an audience can seem more like a chore than an opportunity, but by limiting your need to stare at the words on the page, you can make them soar. Here’s how.

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“Put me up on stage in front of a microphone to speak off the cuff, and I do great,” one of my workshop participants said, “but give me a written speech to read, and I just go dead.”

It’s not surprising: We get plenty of practice speaking spontaneously with verve and emotion. It’s practically all we do in conversation—but reading from the page? That can feel stilted, artificial, even a little fake.

For many people, the result is a listless monotone or a sing-song voice that, if anything, sounds even less lifelike.

Here are some ways to breathe new life into written speeches. You may not need all the scaffolding suggested here, and you’ll need less of it over time. Still, the stages themselves—making those big delivery choices, knowing your speech, rehearsing thoroughly and delivering effectively—are crucial for performing your best.

Follow these steps:

1. Make your big choices.

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