a man presenting to a group leaders

Using Notes in Speaking

Are you not allowed to use notes in Toastmasters?

Most evaluators of icebreaker speeches recommend that Toastmasters strive not to use notes. This not because they expect you to memorize everything you need to say. That will be asking too much from every speaker. I don’t memorize my speeches.

I am not against using notes in delivering speeches. Even Churchill, Lincoln, and Kennedy used notes when they delivered their epic speeches. Ninoy Aquino, one of the most eloquent Filipino speakers used notes. Even Marcos, who is known for his photographic memory used notes.

Remember that your evaluators are not commanding you not to use notes. They are recommending that you don’t use notes. The decision is up to you. If you think you can deliver a coherent and compelling speech when you have note cards, please do so.

I don’t use notes. No, not because someone told me not to use one. But I am free to use notes when I want too. Definitely, I cannot memorize facts and statistics. So when I need to give the exact figures or facts, I keep my notes handy.

Just keep this in mind: don’t deliver a script when delivering a speech in public.

Speaking is a conversation. Keep your eye contact. Use gestures, facial expression, and body movements to amplify your message. You cannot make your speech visual if you read your speech.

Whatever tool you use when speaking in public, ensure that your tool enhances communication.

Jef Menguin

P.S. I encourage you to consider a Toastmasters club near you. If you are in Calamba, Cabuyao, San Pablo, or Calauan, consider attending the Los Banos Toastmasters next meeting.

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