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Props for the Podium
by Andrew E. Schwartz

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Presentation, in the final analysis, is an art. Like any artistic endeavor, it requires a great deal of preparation before the performance. One of the keys to an effective performance 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 without a solid grasp of your material and its importance, 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, well structured notes become a documented lesson plan which can be duplicated and modified with ease.

The fewer notes, the better. The function of presentation notes — also called podium notes or deleivery notes — must be to help one remember information and ideas already committed to memory, as directions to do something that you might otherwise forget. Notes must be used more as cues or stage directions than a script read verbatim.

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


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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