It is interesting to note the diverse opinions when it comes to marking your speech with pauses and smiley faces and underlining particular words for emphasis. My questions to you follow. Do you want to give a speech that is akin to delivering a script as if you were acting on a stage? Or, do you want to deliver your speech as if you were having a conversation in your living room?
Your answer will determine whether you should mark script or not. While I am not an advocate of the former method, if this is what you would prefer, then by all means, mark your script and deliver in that fashion.
If, on the other hand, you would rather deliver your speech as if you were having a conversation in your living room, then do not mark your script.
Were I teaching you how to deliver a dynamic speech or presentation, my advice would be the latter – to treat your audience as if you were speaking to a group of people in your home. My reasoning is that you will be much more natural, much more relaxed, and much more focused on communicating with your audience than performing for them.
It is important to recognize that public speaking is the art of communicating with an audience. The important word in the above description is with. Were the definition to include the word for instead of with, then indeed your delivery would be ‘scripted’ because you would be giving a performance.
By marking your script, you then place your delivery into a preset form of actions which may or may not work with your audience. Maybe you are saying a humorous line and you have placed a smiley face at that spot. What happens, however, if your audience doesn’t find those particular words humorous? You are standing there smiling; they are not. You have just placed yourself in a very awkward position that could have been avoided. By allowing your audience to decide how they will react to you, you then can react to them naturally and normally, not one determined by the markings on your script.
If you would allow your delivery as well as the reaction of your audience to determine how you proceed, to determine when you smile, or whether you should emphasize a particular word or not, you will be much more warmly received because you will be talking from your heart and not just from your head. Talking from the heart is the best means of public speaking. Delivering a rote, scripted performance is not.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels is President of Voice Dynamic as well as Selfgrowth's Official Guide to Public Speaking. Holding private, corporate and group workshops in voice and presentation skills, she also offers Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement.
For more information on voice and presentation skills, Click Here for her 4-minute presentation, The 5 Characteristics of Dynamic Public Speakers.