Communication Tip: How to Use Notes

I prefer not using notes when I speak. When I don’t use notes, I can look at the audience and move away from the lectern. Also, by forcing myself to memorize my speech, I can develop it so that it is easy for the audience to remember it too.

If you want to use notes, there are a few things you can do so that you don’t lose your place and don’t wind up reading your speech at the lectern:

  • Just put an outline of your speech on the notes. If you write out your whole speech, you will wind up reading your speech instead of looking at the audience. It is also easy to lose your place if you are looking at a full sheet of text.
  • Use index cards. The smaller size (usually 3 x 5 inches in the United States) is easier to handle. It also makes it easier for you to structure your speech. You can even skip ahead to another card if you are running short on time. Note: You might want to number the cards. If you drop them, you can put them back in order.

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