How to Use Presentation Notes Effectively

Date posted: June 10, 2013 | Author: | No Comments »

Categories: Presentation Delivery

by Allan Kaufman and Allan Misch

Did you ever see presenters who write a presentation in long hand, single-spaced, double-sided, with all the pages stapled together? During the presentation, they stop because they can’t read their handwriting, or they lose their place. Throughout the presentation, you see their presentation notes as they turn the pages. This is surely the sign of unskilled speakers.

Most presenters don’t know how to use presentation notes properly. Here are recommendations for using presentation notes that don’t detract from your presentation.

Using Presentation Notes on 8-1/2″ x 11″ Paper

Type your presentation notes on one side of the page. Use at least a 14-point font. Double-space or triple-space your lines. Put only one thought in each paragraph. Underline in red the key phrase in each paragraph. Put a page number in the upper right corner of each page. Do not staple your presentation notes together; use a paper clip.

At the lectern, place page 1 on the left and pages 2, 3, 4, etc. on the right with page 2 on top. Begin your presentation with pages 1 and 2 in front of you. As you finish page 1, look at page 2.

Begin page 2. Then, slide it to the left onto page 1. Now you have pages 2 and 3 in front of you. When you finish page 2, look at page 3 and slide it onto page 2, revealing page 4. Continue this process until you finish. When you use this system, your audience will not see your presentation notes throughout the presentation.

Using Presentation Notes on Index Cards

Use index cards instead of 8-1/2″ x 11″ paper, when you give a short presentation or one with which you are very familiar. Put key words and phrases on the index cards.

Put one key word or phrase in large type on each card. Number the cards on the top, right corner.

Another option is to create a short keyword outline on one index card in portrait mode. Use a font between 10 to 14 points for the text.

Using a Lectern or Portfolio

If a lectern is unavailable, use a portfolio. Put your notes in the portfolio until you are ready to speak. Use the same process for moving the pages as described above. Your gestures may be inhibited, but if you need your notes, you must make do with what you have.

Consider investing in a portable lectern to keep in your vehicle’s trunk. You can purchase one for around $50. You can buy a nice portfolio for about $15.

Using presentation notes is appropriate. When you do use them, follow our system. Your audience will not be distracted by your presentation notes. You will be more comfortable and confident using your notes. And you will appear to be a polished and skilled presenter.

If you have additional strategies and techniques for using presentation notes effectively, please share them in the comments section.


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