Some suggestions for reading aloud

Good readers can overcome the problems I just mentioned. Here's what I suggest if you must read your presentation:

Inflection. To make your words sound natural, rehearse often. Check yourself for pauses. Ask yourself if your words sound the way you'd say them. This is surprisingly hard to do—you'll probably have to work at it.

Spoken language. You can also improve your inflection by choosing words you might actually say—rather than using "businessese." In fact, top speech writers work to put colloquialisms in the text: "Okay, let's push that idea a little farther and see what we come up with" or "I think this new approach will be easier once we get the hang of it."

Movement. Plan for key gestures: pointing in the general direction of the city you're mentioning, showing how big or how small something is, shrugging at the right time, raising an eyebrow. Some speakers put cues for these gestures in their text.

Eye contact. If your text is "user friendly," you have a better chance of looking at your audience. So you need a good layout for your text. You don't want bunches of long paragraphs, or you'll lose your place every time you look up. Instead, try starting a new paragraph after every sentence or two. And avoid all capital letters, which are hard to read. Instead, use upper and lower case in a larger type size.

The audience can get distracted by watching speakers turn the pages of their text. Instead, use unstapled pages and simply slide the page you've finished to the side.

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