7 Rebuttals To 7 Reasons You Should Speak Without Notes


Seven very brief responses to Carey Neiwhof’s post, “7 Reasons You Should Speak Without Notes.”

[Note: I’m taking “speaking” in his context to be “preaching” in mine, and what he calls “notes” I’m calling a “manuscript.”

Reason 1: Your favorite communicators don’t use notes

My favorite communicators are preachers, and almost all of them use manuscripts.

Reason 2: You seem far more sincere and authentic when you don’t use notes

The appearance of sincerity and authenticity is not the goal. Speaking truth is. And a manuscript well-prepared compromises zero sincerity or authenticity.

Reason 3: You will be far more natural

The appearance of naturalness(?) is not the goal. Speaking truth is. Few things are more painful than listening to a speaker or preacher who is trying to be natural. 

Reason 4: You can make eye contact

If it’s prepared properly (I use 18 point font; .5 inch margins at the top and sides, 2 inches on the bottom; no paragraph longer than three sentences), you can make lots of eye contact with a manuscript.

Reason 5: You will read the room better

A manuscript delivered from a pulpit is a great vehicle for reading a room. As long as you’re preaching and not reciting, reading the room is not a problem. 

Reason 6: You’ll own your material more deeply

Ownership of the material does not depend on the presence or absence of notes, but on how much work you’ve done to prepare. Drafting a manuscript creates deep grooves of ownership for me. 

Reason 7: You’ll be more vulnerable

I have shed tears on manuscripts. Also, vulnerability seems a slippery goal for a preacher to me. Don’t run from it. But maybe don’t aim for it?