Not all speakers are able to speak without notes. In fact, most of us need help during a presentation – whether speaking at a seminar, or making an oral proposal to a prospective client. However, you certainly don’t want to be reading your speech or otherwise appear to not be on top of your subject matter.
Some help comes from Tom Antion on the Great Public Speaking blog where he gives some practical tips on how to “sneak” a peek at your notes periodically during your presentation.
He suggests lying your notes flat on a table (I try to use a podium when I can) and looking at them when:
*Audience is laughing (Tom Antion must be a pretty funny guy),
*Changing slides on your laptop, if you are using PowerPoint®,
*Pausing to think (for instance after responding to a question),
*Retrieving a prop or paper from the table, and
*Audience is watching a short video or looking at something you have pointed out on a slide.

There may be other opportunities to peek at your notes based on your particular speaking approach. The important point is that you should plan for these opportunities, rather than leave them to chance.