How I stopped leaning on notes and started learning to trust myself

Looking back over 2012, I’ve done a number of presentations spanning from advocacy to  middle children. Whenever I prepare for a presentation, I start by drafting notes. Notes are a great way to organize your thoughts and ensure that you stay on topic. Recently, I was asked to give remarks to student members in town for a visit. As usual, I sat down and sketched out what I wanted to say. When I was done, I had crafted a nice one-pager of bullet points organized by subject matter. And that’s when it hit me.

During the actual presentation, I rarely use my notes. I would either abandon them after the first five minutes or some “technical glitch” would occur preventing me from accessing them. In fact, I’ve spent more time developing notes than actually using them. My notes became my security blanket because I thought I needed them.

Now, does this mean I should stop drafting notes? No. Writing notes is still the best way for me to prepare for a presentation. However, once it’s showtime, I should probably continue to ignore them.

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One thought on “How I stopped leaning on notes and started learning to trust myself

  1. Great advice. The act of making the notes is what cements the ideas in your brain. If you didn’t draft notes, you’d need them for the presentation. Since you do draft notes, you then don’t need them. I have a similar habit for writing longer articles. I write out an outline of how I want the article to be ordered and structured, but once I’ve done that, I’m typically then able to just start writing, and I refer back to the outline maybe only once or twice.

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