Deciding Your Presentation Method
Few people are able to give a presentation without notes. Even the most experienced speakers will usually have to hand at least some form of notes to jog their memory and aid their presentation.
You will need to know your own abilities and decide how best to make the presentation. When you first start giving presentations you may feel more confident with more detailed notes. As you become more experienced you may find that you can deliver effectively with less.
The main advantage of this method is that the entire text is in front of you so you cannot forget what you want to say.
The main disadvantage, to this method, is that you will pay less attention to the group or audience whilst reading the text. If you are speaking to a small group, this method might be overly-formal as written text sounds very formal when spoken out loud. If you read a prepared text, you should know what you are going to say very well so that you can maintain eye contact with your listeners whilst not losing your place.
Reading the text is not always an easy option as it can sound stilted and rather unnatural. Remember to engage with your audience as much as you can.
To use cue cards, write your main points on separate index cards and, underneath each point, write the supporting material in a concise way.
Use only one side of the card and number the cards so that you can easily reorder them if you drop them. On the bottom of each cue card, write a link statement to lead you into the next point.
The advantage of using cue cards is that you are speaking directly to the audience which increases your rapport with them. Small index cards also look more professional than large sheets of paper which may prove difficult to handle.
Ensure that you are familiar with the main points of your argument and the links between one idea and the next so that you become less reliant on the cards.
Keywords on Cue Cards
Further simplify the information on the cue cards by drawing out keywords that will remind you of the key points that you wish to convey.
The advantages of using keywords on cue cards are the same as above but their use increases spontaneity and rapport with the audience even further.
However a disadvantage is that, if you become side-tracked, it is easy to lose the thread and possibly miss key points. Using key words is a useful method if you are very familiar with your subject and feel confident in making the presentation.
Mind maps are diagrams used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and can be used as notes to aid a presentation.
The advantages of using a mind map are similar to those of using keywords on cue words but it is easier to illustrate complex relationships than with keywords.