Speaker Notes: Key Words and Exceptions

Speaker notes can be very beneficial to reducing anxiety, if you have already spent time rehearsing. However, they can also pose a lot of challenges for students who rely too heavily on them during the presentation. Therefore, remember that they are a handrail, not a crutch. Use them ONLY when needed.

This is the other reason I require that you limit your cards to 45 words and no more than 2 cards per component or idea. When you put too much information, it’s way too easy to overwhelm yourself with ideas.  Then, out of necessity, you try to read the information, rather than speak to us. Consider the most effective communicators you know: they don’t READ what they want to tell you, but speak to you directly, look in your eyes, and convey sincerity. It’s a great benefit to you!

This means that key word focus is vital to your speaker notes. Writing more than 2-3 words on a line can actually reduce your effectiveness as a speaker. With that in mind, I want you to focus your ideas on what is essential and necessary for you to remain effective, but nothing more than that.

That said, I understand that there may be a few exceptions. Keep in mind the following MUST BE be written out explicitly (word for word as you intend to say it to the class).

  • Thesis statement
  • Preview statement
  • Transition statements

In addition, you will likely WANT to write out the initial oral citations. I’ll cover those in the next post.

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