Some of the most well-thought-out, best-rehearsed and best-written statements have ended in disaster because the speaker tripped on their script!
This article is meant to protect you from falling victim to tripping on your script right out of the starting blocks.
· Type your script in 18-point type (even bigger is OK!). The standard 12-point type is easily readable when you are rehearsing in the comfort of your kitchen, but things will be different on the day of your speech. Your script will be on a lectern two feet away from your face, there will be a microphone between you and your papers and the lighting might not be what it was in your kitchen.
· Double-space (at least 1.5) your lines.
· Be sure the last paragraph or sentence on one page does not run on to the next page. Turning the page to find the rest of the sentence might make you lose your cadence or train of thought.
· Practice turning the pages! Turning pages may sound simple until you begin your speech and realize the pages are sticking together or your fingers are dry and you can not turn the page. Find your own system. Mine is to physically crumple the right side of each page. That way I have something to grab onto when I want to turn the page.
· Make two copies of your speech. Keep one with you at all times and keep the other at your table or under your chair. That way, if you set your script down and forget it as you meet someone or are enjoying coffee and pastry, there is always a backup copy at your chair. If you really want to be safe, keep a third copy in your car.
· Do not put your script on the lectern ahead of time! There might be a speaker before you. When that speaker is finished, he’;ll pick up his speech and yours off the lectern and walk away with it!
The bottom line is to make sure ahead of time that your script is simple, clear and easy-to-read.
As most venues where you will be speaking, you will probably have a choice of three different types of microphones. The type of speech you are giving and whether you have props with you will determine which you should use.
The lavalier microphone is totally hands-free. A small electronic box is clipped to your back pocket and the microphone attached to it simply clips onto your lapel. This allows you the luxury of having both hands free to either hold your script or props. You can also do anything from gesture to applaud. The lavalier mic also allows you to walk back and forth across the stage.
The one drawback to this microphone is I have found it to be the least reliable. If the mic is not clipped close enough to your voicebox, it may not pick up your voice and your audience may have difficulty listening you. Also, not to get too technical, but the electronic signal the lavalier mic works through is sometimes impossible to be interfereed with the concrete or metal the room is constructed of. Test it ahead of time.
The wireless handheld mic let’;s you get the microphone up close to your mouth (as long as you remember to keep it there). This mic also leaves one hand free to either hold your script or a prop and allows you freedom of movement. The drawback to this microphone is that if you are holding your script, you can not turn the pages of your script. Try this experiment at home: Hold a script in one hand and a bottle of beer in the other. Try to turn the page. You can not! The wireless handheld also limits you as to what kind of props you can use (you only have one free hand), and applauding is pretty much out of the question.
The third microphone is the one that is affixed to the lectern. On the plus side, since it is wired, it will always work and there will be no signal interference problems. You also have two free hands to turn pages or hold props. Also, you might enjoy the security of standing behind a lectern instead of out in the open.
The drawback to this microphone is that you must always remember to keep your mouth close to it at all times. If you turn your head left or right, up or down, your audience will shout the most frightening three words any speaker could ever hear – "Can not hear you!"
Most events will have all three microphones available for you. Plan ahead as to which one will suit you best.