Memorizing the Opening of a Presentation
Question: Why don’t you recommend memorizing the opening of a presentation?
Answer: The reason we don’t recommend memorizing the opening of a presentation is because it places your focus in the wrong place. When your presentation starts, you should be thinking about your listeners and engaging them in the conversation not recalling a script.
If you do memorize the beginning, you run these risks:
- Sounding stilted or self-conscious
- Appearing “put on” or as if you’re performing
- Ignoring (or not noticing) what happened moments before you started speaking
- Missing non-verbal cues from your listeners
- Failing to connect dots from earlier portions of the meeting
The big thing to keep in mind is that everyday presentations need to feel like genuine conversations. Memorizing a script of any sort is in direct conflict with that and must be avoided.
Written by Greg Owen-Boger
Greg Owen-Boger has been with Turpin Communication since 1995, first as a cameraman, then instructor, account manager, and now vice president. Schooled in management and the performing arts, Greg brings a diverse set of skills and experiences to the organization. Greg is one of Turpin’s facilitators and coaches. When he’s not with clients, he manages the day-to-day operations of the company. Greg is an active member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and was the 2015 President of ATD, Chicagoland Chapter. He is a popular speaker, frequent blogger, and the co-author of the book The Orderly Conversation: Business Presentations Redefined. His latest book, also co-authored by Dale Ludwig, launched in 2017 and is entitled Effective SMEs: A Trainer’s Guide for Helping Subject Matter Experts Facilitate Learning.