Using a script when delivering an important speech allows the speaker to feel more comfortable, to speak more clearly, and to say everything that needs to be said.

However, there is a danger that with reading like this, the audience will more easily disengage with the speaker because the script acts as an “obstacle” between the audience and the speaker. So, how can we deal with that?

Generally, when a speaker reads a script, he or she first reads the beginning of the sentence, then reads a little ahead and looks up while saying it (in order to engage with the audience), before then looking down again to read the last part of the sentence. The speaker’s eyes follow a “down-up-down” movement.

Well, if you want to give the impression to speak freely to the audience, try the other way around!

Start by looking down at the first part of the paragraph you need to say and memorise as much as you can. Then, look at the audience and speak out the first part of the paragraph while making eye contact. Before you run out of words, look down at the script and speak out the middle part of the paragraph while reading. Finally, look at the last part of the sentence, memorise it, raise your eyes and say it while looking at the audience. This is the “up-down–up” technique.

To fully benefit from the technique, make sure your script is easy to read. Write short sentences, have the entire script written with similar length paragraphs and a big font size. Finally, try to have the most powerful words and sentences at the beginning or the end of each paragraph – so you say these while looking at the audience.

“Up-down-up”. The best way to keep your audience engaged when reading from a script. Good luck!

BCW Sports practice is the sport unit of global advisory firm Burson-Marsteller. We provide strategy and communication advice for sport clients around the world. For more information: