When It’s Okay to Veer Away from Your Script

Most people spend hours preparing their presentation and planning everything they are going to say down to the very last detail. That’s because most people dread the idea of public speaking and a script gives them a sense of security. While a script can be an important tool for remembering important information, there are times when it is acceptable (and maybe even preferred) to veer from the script and speak off the cuff.

When You Are Introducing Yourself

As stated before, a script is helpful for remembering important information but hopefully you can remember the information about yourself. If you are introducing yourself to your audience, there is no need to follow a script. Just talk to them like you would in a casual conversation. This immediately makes you more relatable and authentic.

When You Are Telling a Story

Storytelling is a great way to captivate the attention of your audience. However, sometimes a story loses its luster if it feels like it is being read directly from a script. Rather, use this opportunity to tell the story rather than read it. Stories are a great way to connect with your audience and the connection will seem even more genuine if you are speaking from the heart.

If an Opportunity Presents Itself

Your script might be full of fantastic information, but audiences want something memorable. There are times throughout a presentation when opportunities present themselves to veer away from the script. There might be a time when humor would seem appropriate and the opportunity arises to crack a joke. This is something the audience will remember. Likewise, someone might ask a question or make a comment that sparks interesting conversation. This is a teachable moment and you should break away from the script and take advantage of these opportunities. Just be sure you can reel your audience back in and get them back on track.

When You Want to Inspire

Sometimes presentations are simply about providing information and other times they are about inspiring the audience. You can really tug at the heartstrings of your audience when you speak directly from your heart. They will know the difference between a scripted talk and one that is authentic, and they are much more likely to be inspired when you show that vulnerability.

When You Are an Expert on the Topic

Most people use notes because they don’t want to forget something or they want to make sure they stay on track but if you are a true expert on the topic, you won’t require notes to help you every step of the way. If you feel confident enough in your knowledge of the topic, go ahead and put the script aside. You will be able to cover everything that is necessary based on your expertise.

When You Know Your Audience

Formal presentations often require the use of notes because the speaker and the audience don’t know each other well and the speaker wants to ensure the presentation is perfect. When you know your audience, however, they will be forgiving of a few minor imperfections. You are more likely to feel relaxed and it is easier to speak off the cuff in front of people you know.