Tip: Should I Use a Script or Just Wing It?

About this lesson

Should I Create a Script for My PowerPoint Presentation?

In this training video, Les McCarter addresses whether you should create a script for your PowerPoint presentation or simply wing it. The answer is nuanced: you don’t need a full script, but you should never wing it. Three strategies are discussed: using structured talking points, creating a full-blown script, and avoiding ad-libbing entirely.

A full-blown script ensures you are well-prepared and articulate, eliminating rambling and helping you to look and sound your best. However, it requires significant effort to write, memorize, and practice. If you choose to use a script, avoid reading directly from it, as this can appear unprofessional.

Structured talking points offer a more natural approach, providing flexibility to adjust your presentation based on audience engagement. This method still requires thorough practice to avoid missing key points or rambling. Winging it, on the other hand, is strongly discouraged, as it often results in disorganized, ineffective presentations. Les recommends structured talking points for experienced presenters and full scripts for those who are less confident.


  • 00:25 The Three Strategies
  • 01:18 Pros & Cons of a Script
  • 02:22 Pros & Cons of Structured Talking Points
  • 03:31 Cons of Winging It – Ad Libbing is Bad
  • 04:09 Recommendations of What To Do


Subject Microsoft PowerPoint

Software Compatibility All versions of PowerPoint

Level Tips

Course Completed Complete

PDF Files There are not any files associated with this lesson.



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Transcript: Should I Create Script?

Here’s a quick solution answer to the question: “Do I need to create a script for my PowerPoint Presentation, or can I just wing it?”
The complex answer is NO to both questions. You don’t have to create a script, but you should NEVER wing it.

There are three strategies when planning out your speaking PowerPoint presentation:
1) Just work off the slide bullet points, or what I call structured talking points, but the talking points MUST be practiced in advance

2) Using a full-blown script with everything written out and either memorized or referred to as you speak

3) And lastly, Ad Libbing should never be used . . . talking off the top of your head with no prep in advance equals stupid talk. Do NOT embarrass yourself.

Let’s look at all three.
A full-blown script is the strongest choice.
You will be your most prepared and never miss any key points. And since you are writing the script, you can be your most eloquent using effective phrases and visually compelling word descriptions. You will look and sound your best.
And what I believe is key is that you eliminate rambling, which prevents the presentation from droning on.

The downside? It is a lot of work to create a full script and even more to memorize and practice.
You might elect not to memorize the whole presentation and instead use a paper script to refer to. However, you still need to be very practiced and familiar so as to not just read the text.
That looks really, really bad.

Structured Talking Points is a valid approach

When done right, you will appear most natural in front of your audience.
This approach will also give you the flexibility to make mid-presentation adjustments, such as going faster on topics that no one seems to care about or more in depth on those that have sparked interest.
BUT THIS WILL ONLY WORK if you practice in advance! Know what and HOW you plan to present, and you might consider writing down some key thoughts that go beyond the bullet points on the slide.

The downside? Getting lost in your logical thoughts. Missing key points. Rambling on.
Practicing will help keep you on point.
Remember, talking points is NOT READING THE WORDS on the screen. Otherwise, you could just send your presentation by way of an email
Add value to each slide!

Winging it is BAD!
Sure it is quick and easy to prepare for, but once you are standing in front of your audience, it will become evident that you did not care enough to properly prepare enough.
The signs will be there: rambling, going off point, reading your screen and getting lost.
That looks bad and wastes everyone’s time. DON”T DO IT! (yes, I am reading my talking point, but I am making a point: DON’T DO IT)

So what to do?
For a live presentation, where you are talking to a group and you are comfortable doing public speaking, then structured talking points may go most smoothly (but remember to practice in advance).
If you are a nervous public speaker, then lean more to the full script.
And if it is really important to your career, then go with the written (and practiced) full script approach.

For me? I’ve been doing this for decades and I feel comfortable doing presentations, so I mostly prepare with talking points.
But for my training video sessions, like this, I will work with a script as I find I can be most effective in the shortest amount of time when I have everything planned out. (this script and preparation took an extra hour but shaved off about 30% on the total time.)

So there you go. If you want more about getting ready for your presentation, do look for our longer masterclass called “How to Present A PowerPoint Presentation to Be Your Best” on youtube.
Also subscribe to our YouTube channel to encourage me to make more free PowerPoint training content for you.
And visit our completely free PowerPoint school at POWER-UP.TRAINING.
Until next time: Power UP