If there is one thing I would never recommend for the novice in public speaking, it would be to ‘wing it’ or, in other words, to speak without note cards or some form of visual aid. You must have something to help keep you on track. If, however, you have been speaking about the same topic for many, many years (as I have been doing), then I would leave that decision entirely up to you.

  • Trying to establish yourself as a professional speaker is not easy; and, ‘winging it’ will make that road much more difficult to navigate.
  • On the other hand, I do not advocate memorizing or reading your presentation either. Your responsibility as the speaker is to speak, not to spit out a pile of memorized words in some rote fashion or to read from a PowerPoint presentation with your entire message in print for the audience to see. If your presentation is visible to your audience, then your delivery is useless because they will concentrate on the screen and not on you.

  • Remember, your PowerPoint presentation is an aid. Treat it as such. The purpose of the PowerPoint presentation is to list your main points or subpoints, facts and/or figures – it should never contain the script of your entire presentation.
  • I confess that while I always have note cards on hand with a few words jotted down, I tend to move away from them and add anecdotes or stories on the spur of the moment. The reason I do this is because I have been delivering the same material for more than 20 years. I am comfortable with the layout of my presentation and can afford to allow my audience’s response to me, move me in slightly different directions. However, I always cover my 5 main points – I just throw in different material from time to time, depending on the background and interest of my listeners.

    Of course, in doing so, I sometimes realize I have finished that I didn’t share one particular story or another. In truth, it did not matter because my audience never knew what I missed.

    Do not tempt fate by believing you can give a newly-created presentation by ‘winging it.’ You must practice your material out loud so that you are comfortable with your delivery, using slides, PowerPoint, or note cards to help keep you on track. You will be thankful in the long run for this advice.

    Author's Bio: 

    The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels provides private, group and corporate training throughout the United States and Canada as well as Voicing It!, the only video training program on voice improvement and presentation skills. Visit Voice Dynamic and voice your opinion in her new blog.

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