I had the good fortune to work with three dynamic individuals who have founded an exciting company in Munich, Germany. Among other things, I helped them with a three-minute pitch for funding from the European Union.
While rehearsing for the pitch, they learned an important lesson, as I explain in the one-minute video below.
The difference between reading from a script and speaking to the audience is night and day. It is almost always so much better when people break away from a script.
The same holds true for corporate presentations that use PowerPoint slides. Too often, people load their slides with text and then spend most of the presentation looking at the slides and reading them to the audience. If that is all the you are going to do, you can save everyone a lot of time by converting the slides into a PDF, emailing them to the members of the audience and canceling the presentation.
When I run corporate trainings and a participant has a dense, complex slide, I will let them explain it for a moment or two. I will then walk to the front of the room and hit the “B” key on the computer to turn the screen black. Next, I will turn to the (now somewhat confused) participant and say, “Sorry, the technology has crashed. Give us the information without the slide.”
And you know what? They do a better job without the slide. Every. Single. Time.
If you have prepared properly, trust yourself. If you need notes, make sure that they are just a few points to remind you of what you want to say. Here is a post on how to use notes effectively when you speak in public. But remember this: You know the material better than you think you do. That’s the lesson from Munich.