(This is Part 7 in the Communicator’s University series. Read Part 6 here.)
Speaking without notes brings huge advantages, and it’s really not that hard to do. Much of my public speaking has been in churches or at conferences, with a Bible in my hand, and in a minute I’ll tell you how I have been speaking without notes for a long, long time.
Of course, you can think of the advantages, because you’ve noticed the difference when you’ve seen others speak. When the speaker goes without notes it gives them a much better shot at establishing rapport with the audience, and it gives a freedom of motion which can help speak with conviction. Without notes and the safety of a podium, speakers make better eye contact and are visually more welcoming. They speak with more authority than if they are constantly glancing down at notes and scrambling to find where they were. It is smoother, more fluent, and more inspirational if you go without notes.
I was trained to manuscript everything but to leave the manuscript at home when about to speak. In such cases I rehearse the manuscript numerous times, and if I can I do it in the venue where the message will be delivered. But I normally don’t get around to manuscripting, so instead I put teensie-little Post-It notes in my Bible where I need a trigger reminder.
That’s it. I open my Bible and while I don’t technically have notes, I have words that remind me where I’m going. In some cases it’s just a few Post-its, but in other cases I have quite a few.
I have urged countless speakers to go without notes, and NEVER ONCE HAVE I HAD ANYONE COME BACK TO ME WITH REGRET. Once you go without notes you will continue to do it, and you’ll get better and better every time.
Aren’t there any disadvantages? The only thing I can think of is that you might forget something. If you do, maybe it isn’t that memorable. But if you need to recite a list of something you can always have that on a card and pull it out.
There might be other disadvantages, but I’m forgetting them at the moment. Do this and you will become a much better public speaker.