SpeakerQuestion: How do I avoid looking like I’m reading my notes?

Too often, we believe that being an effective presenter means memorizing our presentation. Not true.  If having your script, outline or notes close at hand, makes you a more confident presenter that confidence will help forge a strong bond with your listeners. The trick is to be able to simply refer to your hard copy while staying connected – maintaining at least 90% eye contact.  How?

  1. Don’t be “married” to the exact wording on the page.
  2. Be clear and confident in your mind about the intent of your presentation.
  3. Number your pages so if they get out of order, you can quickly and easily find your place. (I learned this the hard way!)
  4. Be comfortable enough to continue to gesture, even with your notes in hand.
  5. Most importantly, practice out loud so you know what you want to say. That way, you can simply glance at your notes and grab what you need to continue your thought.

For more on this topic read my post The Art of Using Notes.

Thanks P.M. from Basking Ridge, NJ for the question. Have a question?  Submit it here and Stephanie will get back to you.


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