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Dudley Dowell
using notes
Tue, Oct 14, 2014 - 07:19 AM

Is it bad to use notes when giving a speech or presentation?

1 Answer


Answer Accepted!

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Host of The Toastmasters Podcast, DTM


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Bo Bennett, PhD

Host of The Toastmasters Podcast, DTM


About Bo Bennett, PhD

I am the host of the Toastmasters Podcast, creator of FreeToastHost, professional speaker, and big time supporter of Toastmasters International. Find out more about me at BoBennett.com.
Print Tue, Oct 14, 2014 - 07:19 AM
Generally, no. It is how one uses notes that can be distracting. Here are some tips:

Avoid reading notes word for word

Avoid having notes on large paper that makes noise (use index cards or something similar)

Be as smooth as possible when referring to your notes

There are some cases where using notes should really be left as a last resort. For example, giving a speech in a speech contest. In this case, you are expected to have your speech memorized.
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Registered User Comments

Greg Gazin
Tuesday, April 07, 2015 - 12:27:32 AM
@Bo Bennett: While many Toastmasters projects suggest you not use notes, in most cases it's probably ok. This is particularly true if you have a series of names or facts and figures or maybe you are referring to a specific passage or quote that you must recite word for word or maybe something has just been dropped on your plate without notice and there is no way for you to have prepared ahead of time. When presenting or speaking, it's best that the notes be used as a trigger point to help you remember and not something you will read word for word unless thats the purpose. If you must use them, practise using them try not to look down all the time, look up at least at the end of a sentence. On the other hand, if you being interviewed on TV, it might look a little funny if you're asked a question and you're fishing in your notes for answers.

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