The Harvard Business review has an excellent best practices for presentations and speeches (as reading fully written speeches will bore the audience).

Stop Scripting Your Speeches (

When you memorize something, you are still reading — now with the script in your head instead of in your hands — and the slightest memory failure can cause you to lose your place and throw you off. Why risk forgetting something you memorized or bearing the engagement handicaps of writing and reading when there’s a much easier, quicker, and more effective way to prepare, practice, and present? For me, that better way consists of four basic steps:

1. Start with an Outline — Every good communication starts with an outline — a roadmap that indicates the points you must hit on the way to your destination. The most effective outlines start with a proposition (I’m selling you an idea), followed by points that support that proposition (I’m showing you why the idea is beneficial to you).

2. Create Small Useful Notes — Eventually, your outline becomes so small and concise you can fit it on an index card. That’s your notes. Your notes are your cheat sheet with bullets/abbreviations/no complete sentences.

3. Practice Effectively — You already know that practice is important, but it’s crucial to understand the difference between effective and ineffective presentation practice.

4. Trust Yourself More Than Your Script — You speak without scripts in your workplace all the time: in meetings, job interviews, performance reviews, conference calls, and more. When you know your points well, prepare good notes, and practice the right way, you’ll understand that conveying your ideas live and unscripted is easier, less scary, and more effective than you thought.