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7 Reasons You Should Speak Without Using Notes

speak without using notes

One of the questions I get asked all the time is, “How do you speak for 40 minutes without using notes?” It’s a great question. Personally, I actually prepare notes, but I rarely if ever use them when I speak. So, why should you learn to speak without using notes? Because you can. And because it will make you far more effective.

I create notes (sometimes even scripting out stories word for word) because: Better preparation makes me a better speaker. Writing down my thoughts clarifies my thinking. My notes give me something to review the day before the talk and the day of the talk.

But then, when I get up on stage, I leave them behind. The only exception is if I need an outline to keep the computer graphics people in sync or I’m using a fill in the blank handout for people—again, so I can track verbatim with their notes and keep us in sync.

And then, it’s just the outline that’s on the screen or in people’s hands that comes with me. No other notes.

But I didn’t start this way as a communicator. Like most people, my first years of speaking were heavily reliant on notes. I remember that moment early in my ministry when I finally freed myself of notes. It was nerve wracking. It’s actually not that hard to do, and it’s learnable. But it was so rewarding. Using notes almost always makes you less effective as a communicator.

7 Reasons You Should Speak Without Using Notes

So, why should you learn to speak without using notes? Because you can. And because it will make you far more effective.

1. Your favorite communicators don’t use notes

I’m going out on a limb here to guess that your favourite communicators don’t use notes. Why? Because the best rarely, if ever, do. People connect better with speakers who speak without notes. You do. So why not become one?

2. You seem far more sincere and authentic when you don’t use notes

This isn’t a good thing. It’s just a true thing. You might be 100 percent sincere and authentic when reading from your notes. But you don’t come across that way. When you read a talk, or rely heavily on your notes, people think it’s coming from your head, not your heart. Or worse, they think it’s a series of points you’re supposed to believe but don’t. Freeing yourself up from your notes creates a much more believable message. When you read a speech, people think you’re insincere and inauthentic, even when you’re not.

To discover the final 5 reasons to speak without using notes, please go to the next page:

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Speaker and podcaster Carey Nieuwhof is a former lawyer and founding pastor of Connexus Church, one of the largest and most influential churches in Canada. With over 6 million downloads, The Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast features today's top leaders and cultural influencers. His most recent book is “Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That No One Expects and Everyone Experiences.” Carey and his wife, Toni, reside near Barrie, Ontario and have two children.