How To Memorize A Speech
How To Memorize A Speech
A professional in the art of public speaking explains the best way to learn a speech, which is not, as it turns out, straightforward memorization.
Hello. My name is Michael Ronayne. I'm a director of the College of Public Speaking, and I'm going to be talking about different aspects of public speaking.
If you're preparing a presentation, and you want to memorize it, the best advice is: don't. Memorizing a speech usually causes problems. What happens is, you end up trying to remember the words, words, words, words, words, and that creates a barrier between you and your audience.
What also then can happen is you spend most of your time trying to think about what to say next, rather than reacting to what the audience is sending back to you. So in principle, don't memorize. So what do you do instead? Well, what I recommend is what I would call 'vocalize.
' So if you imagine you've got a speech, and you've got a nice clear structure, you've got three points you want to put across, you've got three sections. Well, while you're preparing for that speech, maybe while you're doing the washing up, waiting for a bus or going on a train, think through a section. Just walk through it in your own mind.
Now, when you get lost, as you will the first few times, don't go back to the beginning and try again. Try and find your way back into where you wanted to go. What happens then, after a while, it's a little bit like your main points are like the main street in a city.
It's a brand new city to you, and every now and then, you take a little side route, and you get lost. But rather than retracing your steps, what I'm saying is keep going and see if you can find your way back onto the main route. Now after a few days, doing the same exercise, walking through the town, you'll find yourself on a regular basis coming to similar places.
But also, which takes a lot of pressure off you, if you do take a slightly wrong turn, it's not, "Oh my God, I'm now lost," it's, "Aha. I did this before. Here's another way of getting through.
" So it takes a lot of pressure off you if rather than trying to memorize words, you have a nice clear idea of what your structure is, and walk through the material on a regular basis. What could then happen after a while, and I do this myself, is that the section will settle itself down. And so after a while, you'll probably find you are walking down the same path each time, but you haven't got that fear of, "Oh my God, what'll happen if I take a wrong turning or if I forget what the next word is.
" So in principle, don't try and memorize. Try and vocalize. Having said all of that, if you are going to memorize anything, memorize your very first few words when you're feeling you're most nervous, and memorize your ending.
Everything else in the middle? Trust yourself. You'll get there. .