Here’s a simple tip to improve your public speaking if you like/need to use notes, with a couple of other tips thrown in for good measure:
Most of us type up a speech so printing it on card isn’t always convenient. I don’t recommend using paper as it’s far too easy for pages to stick together and it’s just plain flimsy, especially after a few practices. At a recent event, a speaker sent apologies due to illness, and I was approached to read out his speech. I prepared, in the same way, I would instruct my clients to.
Firstly I increased the font and tweaked the layout so it would be easier to read. Here’s a critical tip: remember to practice it by reading it aloud at this point. You may find that what reads well doesn’t sound well when spoken. For example, I can say Berkshire (pronounced ‘Bark-shire’) if I’m not reading it, so I needed to change the abbreviation ‘Berks’ in the speech, not only because the abbreviation doesn’t sound good when spoken but because I will inevitably rhyme it with ‘jerks’! I re-typed it phonetically so I wouldn’t stumble or mispronounce it on the night. Then I ensured the it was spaced on the page so it would fit on to A5 cards. This picture shows a lot of words on the page, but as the audience knew I was reading someone else’s speech, it was fine to have more words per card.
Here’s the simple tip I promised: take a couple of spare subject dividers and guillotine them in half. Not only are you recycling but it’s slightly larger so frames the speech; not only do you have a couple of convenient tags to smoothly change cards, but the coloured card can mean it’s more discreet than white. In my case, I chose purple as it matched my outfit, but it really doesn’t matter. Et voilá, you have a speech, all dressed up and ready to go.
Just don’t forget to practice delivering it aloud a few more times!