It has always been a debatable topic whether to use notes in public speaking or not. There have been many answers for this question. Some say one may use notes, some say notes should be completely avoided and some say one must use notes.
What type of notes should you carry- an entire script or the bullet point or nothing? Let us see different situations where notes may be used and where they may be avoided.
You may require to read out the full script if your script has been written by someone else, you have to speak at an exceptionally formal event, if you had very less time to prepare or if you a new in public speaking and still need some more time to gain confidence or some similar situations. On the other hand, reading out from notes is not at all desirable if you are offering a toast, your speech is short (may be 6 minutes or lesser), you have to give a TED Talk, you are giving a presentation as an employee looking forward to move ahead in career etc. There are also some situations like delivering a webinar, teaching a course, a day to day presentation in your company etc. where it is acceptable to use the notes (bullet points).
You should always be prepared to speak without notes or use them as less as possible. I would not recommend you to memorize your speech word by word because in this case, if you happen to forget something on the stage, you would spend more time in recalling it than in connecting with the audience. Reading out from the script should also be avoided if possible as it hampers the eye contact with the audience and your focus may be mainly on reading out the script.
TIPS TO USE NOTES IN PUBLIC SPEAKING
Here are some tips for using the notes with bullet points in public speaking:
- Use short phrases in writing. When making notes, do not write complete sentences. Write short phrases, bullet points which you can easily understand, recall and explain. This would make your speech sound like a conversation and not just script reading.
- Use gaps. Leave enough gap between words and bullets so that they are easily readable. Avoid stuffing all the bullets on a single page.
- Write in large bold letters. Whether you print the notes or write them yourself, make sure that your font is large enough to be read quickly without having to see too closely or carefully.
- Use single side of the page and write page number. This would avoid the hassle of turning the pages for each point and you would not be confused with the bunch of pages if you would have page numbers written on them. You may also use sticky notes so as to pile up the “done” ones on one side.
- Practice with the bullet points. Since you would need to add description and transitions with the bullet points, so you must practice with these bullet points to become fluent and confident with it. By practicing this way, you would also become familiar what is written where.
- Put your notes on the lectern or any other convenient surface. Once you are on the stage, place your notes on the lectern (or somewhere convenient) but do not stick to the lectern. Move freely, connect with the audience and for the next point, return back to the lectern while moving if you need to glance again at your notes still staying connected with the audience.
- Do not apologize. It is ok to have notes and to look down to read them so do not apologize for these things.
What you wrote may be different from what you speak and that is fine. You should meet your purpose of delivering the speech, no matter if the written and spoken speeches are different.
Engross yourself in creating bullets, practice them and keep your focus on your message.
Enhance your public speaking skills and presentation skills under the guidance of Mr Anurag Aggarwal, public speaking trainer and business coach since May 2000. Take a step forward towards your goal of becoming a public speaker. Feel free to contact us at 7834-99-9292 or visit www.anuragaggarwal.com for any queries on our public speaking course.