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Some Notes on Notes

Toastmasters seem divided on the use of notes. Some say never use them because they reflect inadequate preparation and distract the audience. Certainly, improper use of notes will take away from an otherwise solid speech. Below are 6 paraphrased comments on the use of notes from Anand Raman, CTM. For more details, please see the article entitled ďSome Notes on NotesĒ in the June 2000 edition of The Toastmaster magazine.

  • Notes do more good than harm: Notes can guide a speaker through his or her presentation.

  • Notes let the speaker concentrate on more important things: Use of notes can ease the speakerís memory load. The speaker may then concentrate on other aspects of speaking such a gesturing of adding vocal variety.

  • Notes reflect adequate preparation: The process of making notes clarifies the speech in the speakerís mind. The preparation of notes allows the speaker to go through a speech in his or her mind and highlight the important points.
  • Notes are reassuring to both the speaker and the audience: A speaker is reassured that all important points are covered. The audience is reassured that if they miss something, they will have a few seconds to catch up the next time the speaker glances at the notes to prepare for the next point.
  • Notes come in many forms: Notes donít always have to be words; they may be pictures or other visual props. Written notes should be large and bold.
  • Notes must be used properly to be effective: Notes, by definition, are highlights of the important points. A completely written speech that is recited cannot be called notes. The content and handling of notes determines the impact and the success of a speech.


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