If you’re a speaker or a Bible teacher, you know that the way you type out and organize your notes is very important. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.
It’s hard to listen to someone who is reading her message instead of sharing it from her heart.
How you put together your notes is an important component to a well delivered message.
You may try several different ways before you land on something that works for you.
I’ve spoken from Post It notes tagged in my Bible; from a Bible size booklet I formed so that I could easily tuck it in my Bible and turn the pages as I spoke; from a one page outline; from 3 X 5 cards and from a message I typed out word for word (and from ways I’m sure I’ve forgotten 🙂 )
But trying to find what works for me has been a process. There are so many variables with each speaker, each event and even the different seasons of your life.
What worked for me 10 years ago, doesn’t work as well for me now. I’ve got those over 40 eyes, so the font needs to be larger. Technology has enabled me to research and organize differently.
Here are 5 tips to help you prepare your notes for your next message:
1. Use a font size and type that you can easily read. It’s distracting to see a speaker put her glasses on and off, so if you need a larger font, use it and be glad we aren’t relegated to back in the days when we used typewriters and were limited to one size font. I use 14 or 15. And I generally use Times New Roman because my eye is used to seeing that font, so I feel familiar with it. Use BOLD fonts and Italics to help set apart words that you want to be sure to convey.
2. Space between your lines. If you only use one line space then you are creating a page of words that may have a tendency to run together. Use 1.2 or 1.3 to give you some space between each line so that when you glance down it will be easy to see where you are. The notes are there for quick reference, or to read your Scripture passage from…not to read though.
Color-code your message: Have a color chart that works for you. Use different colors for your fonts and/or different colors for highlighting specific points in your message.
Here is the color-coding chart that works for me:
Red Font~ Bible references and Bible passages
Blue Font ~ Quotes
Green Font ~ Illustrations and points I want to make from those illustrations. (I also type (ILLUST) and (POINT) in bold green font beside it.
Yellow Highlight ~ Points throughout the message I don’t want to miss
Pink Highlight ~ Main points of the message. If I have 3 points to share, I highlight those main points in pink
- COLOR CODE bullet points ~ for easy reference
3. Glue your pages back to back ~ When you try to turn one page at a time they stick together and you begin fumbling with your pages. I use a glue stick and glue the pages back-to-back which makes them easier to turn because they are bulkier.
4. Use a red marker to draw an arrow to things you don’t want to miss ~ even if it’s already in a color-coded font or is highlighted, a red arrow draws your attention to those key points you don’t want to miss.
5. Number your pages in the top right hand corner ~ You can either add them on your computer or you can write them out, but you need to be sure you number your pages or you’ll wonder where you are in the message.
Remember, whether you’re teaching through Isaiah or speaking on friendship at a women’s retreat, you’re taking your audience on a journey with you. Your job is to navigate through your message in such a way that they don’t realize you’ve even looked at your notes except for when it was time to share Scripture.
Putting together a system that works for you will help you present your message more clearly.
I still share some messages from Post It notes and some from outlines…depending on the venue. But typically, if I’m speaking at a conference or a retreat, this is what works for me. But…different things work for different people. The key is to find what works for you.
Now it’s your turn. Share what works for you. How do you put your messages together? Did any of this help?