Speaking Lesson from Jessie Garcia: How to Read from a Script
Jessie, a caseworker for the Coalition for the Homeless, knows firsthand what it’s like to be homeless. She and her four children had to move to a shelter to escape her husband’s abuse.
At the Heroes Breakfast, Jessie reads her story directly from a script. Many speakers have difficulty with this. No matter how emotional and powerful your speech may be, reading from a script often sounds forced, artificial, and removed.
Jessie on the other hand speaks with full emotion. Her speech is deeply moving and sounds as though she is speaking directly to the audience – not reading from a script.
How does she do that?
Here are three strategies she uses:
1. Think as you speak. When we speak in conversation, we naturally think about our words right before we say them. This may only take an instant, but it is what separates talking from reading/reciting. Think about your words as you are saying them. Notice how Jessie takes a breath before speaking – giving herself a brief moment to think about her words right before she says them.
2. Change emotional tone. Divide your speech into several mini tones, each with a different emotional intent. Practice changing tones. The emotions of course should match the content. Notice how Jessie moves from despair to joy as she tells the story of her rise from homelessness.
3. Use silence. Notice how Jessie pauses purposefully – sometimes to let the audience digest her words – and sometimes even to cry. We have a tendency to want to fill up the room with noise. And yet a purposeful pause communicates more deeply than any words can ever do. Silence is what brings the audience close to you.
From the Green Room: Reading from a text can sound natural. This is difficult but not impossible. How? Mean what you say as your are saying it.