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Top 7 Steps to Writing Killer Scripts for Online Business Presentations

By Roger Grannis

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Scriptwriting may look easy, but, like any craft, it’s a specialized skill that can take years to perfect. This 7-step scriptwriting process will shorten your learning curve and help you close that deal or promotion you so well deserve.

"Easy reading is damn hard writing." -- Nathaniel Hawthorne With travel budgets slashed and off-site meetings at record lows, the demand for online presentations is stronger than ever. Whether delivering live presentations using webinar technology such as WebEx or Citrix, or recording them with tools like Brainshark or Macromedia Breeze, a good script is not only critical to an effective presentation, it is the foundation.

Why, then, do we spend most our time dreaming up fancy visuals?

It’s easier. It’s more fun.

And a mistake.

The element more likely to make or break your success is the script itself—your choice of words, the sequence of arguments, how you make your message stick.

Visuals are important, indeed. But the script even more so. In fact, some of the most persuasive presenters—in person—use no visuals at all.

They know that PowerPoint can be PowerPoint-less. When delivering online, however, they follow this secret: The ratio of time invested on scriptwriting versus visuals should be at least 3:1.

Scriptwriting may look easy, but, like any craft, it’s a specialized skill that can take years to perfect. This 7-step scriptwriting process will shorten your learning curve and help you close that deal or promotion you so well deserve.

  1. Set Clear Objectives.

    Is it to inform, educate, persuade, or motivate? Talk to 3-5 viewers directly and ask them what they need. The more explicitly your script addresses those needs, the better it will be received. Nothing kills a good presentation like extraneous information.

  2. Analyze the Audience.

    Who are they? What is their experience with the subject? Do they know a little bit? A lot? Nothing? Find their sweet spot. Get too technical and you’ll lose them. Too basic and they’ll be bored. Remember, every audience member is always wondering, WIIFM – What’s in it for me?

  3. Brainstorm Content.

    Old fashioned yellows pad and white boards work best. Electronic brainstorming tools may suit you as well. Using index cards and sticky notes this early allows your logical left brain to bleed into the process, which can slow the flow of ideas. Save those for step 4. Let your mind work freeform.

  4. Create an Outline.

    Next, identify your best ideas. Add some, delete some. Consolidate into main points and sub-points. This is where index cards and sticky notes come in handy. Spread them out on your desk. Put them in a compelling sequence. A brilliant decorator friend once told me his secret to success: “Move the furniture around until it looks good.” Do the same with your ideas.

  5. Write a Sloppy Copy.

    Turn off your editor. Open the spigot. Write fast. Don’t stop to edit and second-guess yourself or your best ideas may never come. I recommend writing in Word first and pasting into PowerPoint (notes section) later, after the script is finished.

  6. Edit, Edit, Edit

    Richard North Patterson said, “Writing is rewriting." Review your sloppy copy. Keep the good parts. Delete the rest. Then expand, shape and clarify. Refine. Say things in the fewest words possible. William Zinser, author of the bestselling book, On Writing Well, said, “Writing improves in direct ratio to the number of things we can keep out of it.”

  7. Polish

    The best way to polish is to first test it on your audience. Deliver it as if it were the final performance and get their candid feedback. Writers often find that entire sections can be deleted. Remember, with every word you cut, your impact increases exponentially. Hold off on writing your intro and summary until the very end, as it’s impossible—and frustrating—trying to write those when you haven’t yet figured out what you’re going to say.

Roger Grannis is the founder of Clearview Creative Communications, a full-service creative agency that help organizations improve business results by developing custom tools and training. Clearview also offers keynotes and workshops on scriptwriting, training the trainer, presentation development, and presentation skills. Roger can be reached at (203) 431-2999, by email at: roger@clearview24.com, or visiting http://www.clearview24.com

Source: http://Top7Business.com/?expert=Roger_Grannis

Article Submitted On: June 09, 2010