Reading Your Talk--Part 4: Presentation
discussed how to prepare and practice the manuscript talk; what about
presenting it? First, decide either to hold the manuscript in front of
you with one hand, leaving the other hand free to gesture; or place the
manuscript on a speaker’s stand or table, allowing you to gesture with
both hands. In either case keep the manuscript high enough so the
eyes, not the head, drop to the paper. Here are some other things to
explain why you chose to read the talk. If you have prepared well, no
apologies are necessary.
willing to change wording here and there as you go along if it helps you
sound more conversational and enables you to communicate more
Consider adding last minute comments only if they help you communicate
or relate to the audience. Don’t deviate far from the manuscript you
have worked so hard to prepare.
flexible enough that you can shorten the talk if necessary. In other
words, know what parts you can omit.
pauses be dictated by ideas. Pause where you would normally do so in
Concentrate on the meaning and ideas rather than on individual words.
with the sincerity, enthusiasm, directness, and force that is proper to
gestures and look directly at the audience when executing them.
A manuscript talk is not as someone once said, merely “an essay on its
hind legs.” The manuscript should be written and read in a conversational
tone rather than in formal English. A talk is meant to be heard, not
read. If you prepare well, practice diligently, and attend to the factors
of delivery, you can usually read very acceptably and spontaneously.