Certainly if you only have one point, then keeping your talk organized is going to be a little bit easier. But I’ve found it’s still a great idea to use some sort of notes to keep your thoughts in order and moving forward.
One of the biggest challenges I face as a communicator is the desire I have to over-communicate, to chase tangents. It’s not a bad thing, necessarily. We want to provide a fuller picture of what we’re discussing, so we jump from topic to topic.
Notes keep you focused on the simple point you’re making.
How do you decide what kind of notes to use? I started out using an outline, but I’ve since moved to manuscript (where I type out my entire talk). I’m more comfortable with the manuscript because – after I’ve practiced several times – I can follow it easily. Even better, if I have a thought or point I want to express in a particular way, with a certain wording, I have it written (or sometimes bolded) in my manuscript. If you’re a visual person, try the strategy another friend of mine uses. He draws a series of pictures that illustrate the flow of his thoughts.
What matters is that you find an easy way to keep your thoughts focused.
Do you use notes? What are some tips you’ve found for keeping yourself on track and on task when you communicate?