Review Your Notes
I’m frequently asked if I ever use notes on the podium when I speak. The answer is that I do, in a manner of speaking. On occasion, I’ll have notes on paper, but very rarely. If I do have paper notes, they typically hold only keywords, not a script. If I’m in the role of Master of Ceremonies, I’ll have notes with the order of events, but, generally, my notes are in the form of pictures in my head.
I’ll create a visual stack of pictures in my mind that serves as a road map for my presentation. As I speak, I review the pictures in my mind, and that helps keep me on the right track. I do, however, always review my notes, whether they’re on paper or in my head, a few minutes before I speak. This is to make sure I have a recent exposure to the material so my recall is better. The purpose is not to memorize the speech, but to refresh the key points in my mind. Some people run into difficulty here, because they try to do a last-minute run through of their entire speech or presentation, and then get frustrated when they can’t remember the entire thing. That frustration leads to anxiety, which reduces the ability of the brain to focus. The presentation is doomed before it begins. By being properly prepared, all you’ll need is a list of keywords to help you recall the order of events. Review this list before you go on, not to remember the content, but to remember the order.
So, what’s the lesson? A last minute review of the order of events will help you stay on track.