Just Say ‘No’ to Note Cards

Given my commitment to Life Long Learning, I regularly review presentation skill-oriented books to keep what I share with my clients current and relevant. I recently encountered two different authors who recommended using 3×5 inch note cards for preparing speaker notes. Whoa! Couldn’t disagree more. So, please allow me to respectfully disagree and rerun one of my favorite rants.

Very high on my list of Workplace Presenter ‘Worst Practices’ is using the simple seemingly innocent little 3×5 note cards. They’re way too small to be of much value. Good idea for high school debaters or for storing recipes maybe, but not for workplace presenter notes. And, if you do use a large-enough type that’s easy to read quickly, you’ll need a lot of the cards and will spend way too much time changing them … or picking them up when you drop them.

Your best bet is to use 8.5 x 5.5 inch (half page) card stock for your notes. They’re larger, hold more and are easier to handle. That’s probably why most of the TV talk show hosts use them. Think Letterman’s classic nightly ‘Top 10 List’.

So, make your delivery noteworthy by using the right kind of speaker notes in the right way and not letting them get between you and your audience. The best workplace presenters you’ve seen either practice their message enough that they don’t need notes or use notes so subtly and naturally that you may not even notice. You can too!

Thanks for listening … I feel better now.

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