“Is it ok to use notes?”
“What’s the right way to use notes when speaking?”
These are the two most common questions I hear when it comes to speech notes.
First, let me make it clear that it IS OK to bring your trusty notes with you. I have been to conferences where I was sitting close enough to see the keynote speaker glance down here and there at their notes that were resting on the lectern nearby. And guess what? They delivered a fabulous speech! The fact that they had notes did not diminish the quality of their presentation or make them look less credible. I will also bring my notes with me to some engagements. Not because I don’t know the material, but there may be some facts or critical information that I want to make sure that I communicate accurately.
So now I can address the second question here on out. There are definitely guidelines that I recommend when it comes to using your notes in a way that is seamless and easy for you.
One more thing before I give you my tips – it is fine to use either regular 8.5×11 paper or index cards. It’s up to you.
Here are my top 5 tips for using speech notes:
Our notes are our best safety net when having to present. This does mean you need to practice sufficiently, so your notes are not a crutch you are leaning on the entire time to get through your speech. At that point, it becomes a reading instead of a speech. 😳
One more note about notes (see what I did there 😄). Try not to use notes for your opening or closing. Memorize those two parts at a minimum.
Let me know which tip you’ll now use, or what other tips you utilize when it comes to notes.
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As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- 1 Peter 4:10-11
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