Once we’ve worked our magic writing with our clients, we’re often asked if using notes and cue cards is okay on the day. Of course, do what you’re comfortable with, but the Speechy team suggests you DO.
Great delivery is equally as important as a great speech. The last thing you want is to lose all the charm, humour, and sentiment you worked so hard on crafting just because your nerves, and memory, got the better of you.
Memorising your speech will of course help with your delivery but have some notes to hand just in case. Trust us, standing in front of a hundred-odd friends and family on such a big occasion is actually more intimidating than a business presentation. Especially when you’re expected to be funny!
Let’s be real, even actors have notes when accepting awards…and they’re paid to memorise words!
Your instinct when creating notes for your speech may be to get it down in bullet points. They’re quick, easy to read and a good way of establishing eye contact with the room.
This method works for some people, but we often find that the nuances of comedy can get lost.
Trying to remember content can also dilute your presentation techinique so don’t be shy about printing off the whole speech word for word.
Of course, despite having printed off your speech in full, you only want to be glancing at it, rather than reading from it.
You need to be so familiar with the flow of it that the content falls from your mouth effortlessly. This comes down to repeated practise– and we’ve written a whole blog about how you can ingrain it in your brain.
Presenting our notes
Do NOT read from your phone or any tech. It may seem like the more modern option but it looks overly casual and, these days, we associate people looking at their phones with them being distracted and less present. Feeling frustrated is now an inherent reaction when someone looks at their phone in our company.
And, the reality of tech is its often hard to manage. You can easily click the lock button, flick to another app or scroll too far down.
So, instead of resorting to tech, print off your speech, old-school, on quality A4 paper. You know, the posh kind you can buy from Papier, not the random sheets you nick from the office.
The key to easy-to-read notes is making sure your text is of a good size and there’s clear spacing. Allow obvious gaps between paragraphs and the parts where you’re expecting a laugh. This way, you’re forced to pause to establish eye contact with the room and allow for the jokes to sink in.
It may be worth codifying your speech to make your delivery the best it can be. The simple use of bold, italics & symbols can act as reminders to include emphasis, pauses and to remember to smile throughout. This may seem like a given, but honestly, people often need reminding.
We recommend only using the top two thirds of the page to print on and starting a new page every time there’s a new direction of thought. Keeping your text high up the page ensures your eye-line is never too low and your head is kept upright at all times.
Number your pages just in case you drop them!
Legitimise your notes
It’s easy to ‘legitimise’ reading your notes as long as you introduce them well.
Make your notes part of the speech as the ‘prosecution’s evidence’, or could they be the groom’s job application to become the new Bond?
An idea we utilise in some of our speech templates, is using a physical book as a ‘storytelling’ prop to help speakers deliver their speech. Simply use the book to ‘tell a story’, having pasted your speech into the book already. Either order a personalised book with a suitable title, or use a hardback you have on your shelf and design & print a cover to wrap round it.
On the day:
Make sure a trusted friend also has a copy of your speech notes.