Speaker Notes. What’s Not To Like?

By Andrew Ivey | Communication

Nov 23

For many people the idea of using speaker notes is a worry. That's because they don't want to appear to read from a script. And, of course that's a real concern when you read from a script in the same fashion as an unaccomplished lower grader. But you don't have to. Because you can use speaker notes and appear accomplished and professional. Even presidential, perhaps.

speaker notes

President Trump Reveals His Speaker Notes At The White House

Now, first of all let's not take anything from lower graders, their speeches, or their public speaking. Because their USA graduation speech travails are always fascinating. But, importantly how you prepare and then use your speaker notes is vital.

Presidential Speaker Notes Caught On Camera

And that's why President Trump caught our attention this week with his use of speaker notes as he briefed the White House press corps. Unusual? Not really. What's probably more unusual is someone taking photographs of the President from behind the podium.

We know of course that President Trump uses notes to rehearse a speech. In fact, we'd be surprised to find any leading politician or business leader that chooses not to. Not least when you practise your speech you are less likely to trip over words, phrases or place names.

What's intriguing about the President Trump speaker notes is that they are hand written. And probably hand written with the famous Alabama Sharpie pen that filled the news with Hurricane Dorian

The speaker notes are also large and very clearly legible for both the President and any photographer lurking behind him. Neat. But we also spotted the upper case styling of his letters. Now, that's a bit unusual with a script. Not least, because, in our experience, it's easier to read a mix of upper case letters with lower case words. Just try proof-reading a document that's prepared entirely in upper case. It's not easy.

Notes Or Memory? That's Quite A Choice

President Trump's speaker notes have clearly seized our attention. But what's not to love? Certainly our politicians love notes. This UKIP conference speech had a brief set of supporting notes that betrayed its structure. Alternatively, when you try to memorise a speech and work without speaker notes then you can miss bits from your conference keynote speech. Ed Miliband came a cropper with this.

Of course when you want to get your very own speaker notes up to scratch, lower case or upper case, then you'll always find plenty of public speaking tips here. And with more than 100 top tips for speakers and presentation tips, there's something for every event. Plus, when you want to step up to a more elevated podium, then why not consider some public speaking coaching? Because a well-timed intervention might be just the tonic for your next speech. So, when the time is right, please don't hesitate to note our number.

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About the Author

The Principal Trainer at training business Time to Market. Based in Oxford, I run presentation and public speaking training courses, coaching sessions and seminars throughout the UK.

  • […] said that one of Britain’s finest orators, Winston Churchill, vowed never to speak without speaker notes after he lost his way during a speech to trades unionists early in his political career. Never […]

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