A good business presentation writer needs to use the same techniques a good novelist uses. So, because story plays such an important role in the success of presentations, we decided to assemble the best writing tips of some great authors, so you can apply them to your next presentation script writing. We’ve divided the 23 tips into the 6 Steps of the script writing process. If you follow all six steps the next time you have to prepare a business presentation, you can’t miss.
The Best Writing Tips for Business Presentation Scripts Are:
STEP I: Before you even start to write your script:
- I’m always pretending that I’m sitting across from somebody. I’m telling a story, and I don’t want the person to get up until it’s finished. – James Patterson
- Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia. – Kurt Vonnegut
- My aim is to put down on paper what I see and I feel in the best and simplest way. – Ernest Hemingway
- Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted. – Kurt Vonnegut
- If you get bored writing it, the reader will get bored reading it. – Gabriel García Márquez
Summing up these first 5 awesome tips: before you start to write the story behind your script, think of your audience as one specific person with specific characteristics. This way you’ll be creating a story for somebody real, and your life will be made much easier. Just like Hemingway, your aim should be to write a simple story that the person you’re writing to will understand and relate to right away. Remember to write an interesting story that people will want to hear and that you have fun writing. If you have fun writing it, people will have fun hearing it.
STEP II: Creating your presentation story:
- A short story must have a single mood, and every sentence must build toward it. – Edgar Allen Poe
- Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. – Kurt Vonnegut
- Start as close to the end as possible. – Kurt Vonnegut
- The end of a story should be written when you’re still half-way through it. – Gabriel García Márquez
When you start writing your story, you need to know your goal, so you can create the main message that will guide the story and so you can create the end of your story as early as possible. Where Edgar Allen Poe talks about the single mood a story must have, we talk about the main message a presentation script must have. Also, just as with any good story, the sentences of your presentation script should build toward the main message. And remember to give your audience all the important details they need to fully understand your story.
STEP III: Creating the characters of your story:
- When writing a novel, a writer should create living people – people not characters. A character is a caricature. – Ernest Hemingway
- Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for. – Kurt Vonnegut
- Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water. – Kurt Vonnegut
- Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters are, make awful things happen to them in order that the reader may see what they are made of. – Kurt Vonnegut
Every story needs at least one character, and that character (or characters) needs to sound and feel real to the audience, otherwise people won’t relate to him/her and the story won’t reach the audience. The character you create needs to have a specific personality and needs to have a goal, something to overcome, or a battle to win, and so your story will need to have conflict. Without conflict, stories and characters are pointless.
STEP IV: General writing tips to keep in mind:
- Every sentence must do one of two things: reveal a character or advance the action. –Kurt Vonnegut
- Never use a long word where a short one will do. – George Orwell
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. – George Orwell
- Never use the passive where you can use the active. – George Orwell
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. – George Orwell
These 5 tips are great to keep in mind at all stages of script writing.
STEP V: After you’ve finished the first draft of your presentation script:
- The first draft of anything is shit. – Ernest Hemingway
- To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write. – Gertrude Stein
Now the cruel truth, that first draft you just finished is not good enough! Every great author knows that. So it’s time to go back to the beginning and revise and rewrite to make it good enough.
STEP VI: Revising your presentation script:
- Write drunk. Edit sober. – Ernest Hemingway
- I try to leave out the parts that people skip. – Elmore Leonard
- Do not force the reader to read a sentence a second time to understand its meaning. – Gabriel García Márquez
When it’s time to revise, try to concentrate everything while making sure you know the overall flow of your story. The two important things to do at this last moment are: cut out all the parts that don’t add anything to the story, and make sure everything in the story can be understood right away.
Writing the story that sustains the script behind your presentation should take 70 percent of the time you have to invest in it. So try to follow these 6 steps in creating your next presentation and just see how well your audience retains your message.