Effective Preparation and Use of Notecards



• Put your notes on the unlined side of one (and only one) 4" by 6" white index card. (Put your name on the other side of the card, at the bottom corner of your handedness.)

• Don't put any complete sentences on the card. (This is a notecard, not a script.)

• Your notes should be handprinted in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. (Don't type, don't wordprocess, don't write in cursive).

• Don't use abbreviations unless they're in common usage.

• No more than one line to a note, and no more than one note to a line.

• No more than 5-6 words to a note, and no more than 5-6 notes on the card. (If you need more notes than that, you're not ready to do your speech!)

• Use two contrasting colors of ink (black/red or blue/red, alternating colors from one note to the next).

• If you want to put presentation notes on your card, see if you can find a way to express them pictorially, put them at the right side of the card, use a third color, and box them off. (These four tips will help prevent you from accidentally saying your presentation notes out loud during your speech!)


• Since the purpose of rehearsing your speech is to prepare yourself for the actual delivery of the speech in class, and since you'll be holding notes in your hand during your classroom delivery, you should have a notecard in your hand for every rehearsal.

• Hold the notecard in your nondominant hand at about waist level, with the words pointing up at your face.

• Don't move the card, and don't touch it with your free hand.

• When you rehearse, make sure you glance down at the notecard at regular intervals (about once every 30 seconds).

• After each rehearsal, throw away the notecard and make a new one.


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