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Organization of One's Notes is Key to an Effective Presentation
by Andrew E. Schwartz

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There is an art to doing effective training. One of the keys is proper planning and organization of material. Many people simply create an outline before the event. Unfortunately, this approach creates enormous room for slip-ups. For more professional and effective presentation, program notes make the most out of the time you have with your audience. If you start out not as completly solid as your material, notes help maintain your focus. If you are very familiar with your topic, they keep you honest by preventing you from going off on a tangent. And afterwards, really well structured notes become a documented lesson plan which is duplicable, and may be modified with ease.

The Fewer Notes, The Better: The function of presentation notes should be to help one remember information and ideas already committed to memory, or as directions to do something that you might otherwise forget. Notes should be used more as cues or stage directions than a script read verbatum.

Podium notes are personal, so whatever works for you in delivering your message and maintaining contact with your audience should be incorporated in them. Some of the following guidelines will provide you with a foundation upon which to build or improve your own system.


What Delivery Notes Must Contain: Delivery notes should include the entire sequence of what you will do and say during your presentation. These comprise:

  • The subject matter in outline form
  • Directions for movements, gestures, readings, passing out handouts, use of
    the flipchart and similar activities.
    • Sample of information to be written on a blackboard, easel chart, or similar
      medium during the presentation.
    • Sample of each individual aid

Do not memorize your presentation word for word, only memorize its concepts and critical points. As a result, your podium notes become mnemonic keys. Keep samples of material to hold up, and similar aids separate from your actual delivery notes, and key your actions in the notes.


Andrew E. Schwartz, CEO, A.E. Schwartz & Associates of Boston, MA a comprehensive management training and professional development organization offering over 40 skills specific programs and practical solutions to today's business challenges.

Copyright, AE Schwartz & Associates. All rights reserved.
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