Nothing could be more terrifying than giving an important speech and forgetting halfway through. Most people would be sweating by this point, desperately racking their brains to think of what comes next. All the time, the audience is watching you, waiting for your following words.
Hopefully, this hasn't happened to you yet. If it has, fear not; in this article, we will cover a three-step process you can use to find the best way of memorizing a speech.
Seasoned speakers will deliver their speeches like a conversation. Something that feels so natural and flowing. In fact, reciting a speech word for word can often sound robotic. The key is to memorise enough so your speech can flow naturally.
To quote John Steinbeck, "All the best-laid plans of mice and men do often go wrong." You will likely have an interruption of some sort during your speech. Flexibility is key here, and so is the ability to dip in and out of your speech.
Something that wouldn't be possible if you remembered it word for word.
We would like to add here that preparation is vital. You almost certainly won't remember anything by 'blagging' your speech on the day!
Here are our tips on how to memorize a speech:
1. Write your speech out
Once you have selected a speech topic, write your speech out. You can choose to do so in whole or in note format. Give it a suitable structure, and start visualising the outline. Your structure provides you with the bare bones, a basic framework you can use to navigate through your speech.
2. Build a memory palace
Now, this sounds silly at first, but bear with us. Memory palaces have been used throughout history, even by Shakespeare. Essentially, they are like databases for your thoughts and ideas, places you can use to store pictures in your head. We tend to memorise visual things much better than words, so this is a really effective technique.
Start off by assigning a mental image for each key point in your speech. For example, a topic about budgeting could have a picture of a wallet.
Now number the furniture and items in your room. Place a mental image created above to something in the room. It's safely stored and ready to use. Make the images as vivid as possible, incorporating sounds and smells to help bring everything to life.
3. Rehearse the speech
The final step is to practice your speech. You can do this in your head, however out loud in front of a mirror works even better. You could even record yourself. As you recite your speech, think of the mental images you created and the order they should go in.
At this stage, you can time yourself whilst rehearsing and sculpt your speech to fit the timing criteria. The more you practice beforehand, the more confident you will become.
All you have to do now is deliver your speech. If you find yourself lost for words, have a go remembering the images you created in step two, and stick to your speech structure.
If all else fails, just remember: "It'll be alright on the night!"