Presentation Tip: Big, Bold Notes

Good Notes Make Good Sense

Ever try to memorize a script for your presentation? How’d that work for you? Train wreck?

It’s easy to get into a mindset where our focus is to faithfully repeat each word we’ve written, instead of making a human connection.

Good news. Here’s a way to banish those memorization blues:

1. Start with a brain dump of your thoughts. Write your story down, draw pictures, or create an outline. We all process differently, but here’s the key – those aren’t your notes!

2. Once you’ve captured your thoughts, throw that document away.  Yep, you heard right! It’s easy to fall in love with what you created, but that was only one step towards building truly useful notes.

3. Boil your story down into a few roadmap bullets. Say to yourself, “I want to hit this point, this point and this point.”

4. Now, your notes are shorter than usual – but take another look. Each bullet should be five words or less. Or, for you artistic types, your bullet might be a picture or a small icon. With these notes, you’ll be able to see your next talking point at a glance.

5. Write your bullets on one piece of paper. Use that paper when you practice, so you get comfy with it.

6. How you talk about each of your points will be a little different each time you practice, which is good. Remain flexible in how you tell your story so you can be present with your audience instead of trying to remember, “What was that exact phrase?”

7. Bring the paper you practiced with to the presentation. Put it on a table near you, so you can refer to it as necessary.

Moral of this story? Notes are good; we all have senior (or junior) moments! You’re not a hero if you don’t use notes. A successful presentation is not about “Ha! I never had to check my notes,” but “Wow! I really made a human connection with my audience.”


— Judy

Tales from the Field

Tales from the Field

In my 15-year career, my experience with Graceworks Whole Brain® Thinking workshop stands out big time. Last year, I went through this training at The Society for Marketing Professional Services Presidents’ Leadership Symposium (PLS) – SMPS’s amazing three-day crash course designed to set the incoming chapter presidents up for success. Graceworks was there teaching presentation and leadership skills using HBDI® Whole Brain® Thinking (WBT).

WBT offers tools to strengthen your relationships by understanding how we humans prefer to think, process data and communicate! The concepts have helped me collaborate with the differing minds in the building industry, and really, life in general.

At PLS, Carol and Jen let us know right off the bat that there were no right or wrong answers on our HBDI® profile survey, which we completed online before the workshop. Phew! We reviewed the concepts and subtleties of how our brains process information. Through role-playing exercises, we got to know each other very quickly.

Then came the awesome overlays!

We took our brain preference transparencies and overlaid them with those of our colleagues. By now, we had a solid understanding of how our minds complement one another through similarities and differences in thinking.

This moment was when I knew I had a tool that would help me lead my board of directors and chapter. Through this training, I learned how different people think and gained tools to bridge gaps in my communications – both professionally and personally. Whoa.

Then, I had my final eureka moment: It’s powerful walking in someone else’s shoes.

My parents taught me this lesson, but this workshop brought it to a whole new level. Working in pairs, we got to practice speaking about a topic for a couple minutes from the four different thinking perspectives. This game opened my eyes to my own blind spots. Profoundly powerful.

Practicing Whole Brain® Thinking is hard work, but I’d like to think that it’s making me a better communicator. If you want to take your firm to another level of meaningful success, I suggest embracing this training. Thanks, Graceworks, for offering such a great program.

Jason Vesuvio

Vice President, Marketing & Business Development

Ellana Construction Consultants (WBE)

New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts

President / SMPS-NY Chapter, 2012-13

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