How to use notes when presenting

If you’re addressing a new subject matter or a new group, having key words and phrases just a glance away can keep your presentation smooth—and keep you from sweating right through your suit.

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It’s OK to use notes when presenting, especially if you’re speaking on a new topic or to a new audience.

The key to using notes effectively is what is included in your notes and how you use them. The following 10 tips will help you use notes effectively to remember the key points of your presentation, so you can deliver your message to your audience clearly and within the time limit.

1. Notes are not a full script.

Notes should not contain the script of your entire presentation, typed out word-for-word, on multiple pages. If you’re reading every word of the script, you’re usually not making eye contact or using gestures because your attention is on the script rather than on the audience. If you do look up at the audience, it will be almost impossible to find your place in the script again. I’ve seen speakers flip through multiple pages, looking for their place, which flusters them and distracts the audience. (These tips do not apply, of course, if you are using a teleprompter, which would contain the entire script.)

2. Write out your opening line and your message.

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