“What if I forget my lines? What if I am unable to communicate all that I plan to express?”
We may have faced these questions a few times in your life, if not more.
We spend hours writing an impressive speech. We fill it with rare information and chosen words that can awaken emotions and impress our audience. But often we end up forgetting vital bits while delivering it. Making it sound half-baked and not striking the right sentiments. We try different ways to get it right. We read it from our notes. But that makes us sound mechanical, disconnected. Or we read the pages, appearing unprofessional.
Won’t it be so much better if we could somehow record the entire speech in our memory? Knowing the secret of how to memorise a speech is a great tool. Moreover, if the words are deep-seated in our minds, when we speak out, we sound passionate. It is the key to a successful talk or presentation.
On that note, let’s move on to learn how to memorise a speech word for word.
Jim Kwik shows us the way. One of the world’s most celebrated brain coaches has trained countless big-league frontrunners across industries. Leading organisations like Google, Nike, Inc., Harvard University, and more have faith in his brain-fitness enhancing programs.
Let’s discover his techniques that can help us on how to memorise a speech flawlessly.
First of all, let’s define where we can apply this learning of how to memorise a speech.
On several occasions in our lives, we may have to deliver our lines in a single take, without any chance for a redo. Some examples are:
- Delivering a speech in a social gathering like a wedding or a funeral
- Giving a presentation at a conference
- Speaking in public for rallies or convocations
- Reciting poetry for a public performance
- Knowing the lyrics of songs for singing at events
- Narrating the lines of a play on the stage
- Conveying the content of a sales-pitch script to customers
- Learning school lessons for exams
In such times, the ability to remember everything we have learned becomes vital. How can we achieve that? Let’s find out.
What is the Secret to Boosting our Recall Power?
According to Jim Kwik, the key to committing a piece of text into memory lies in the 8 R’s. In short amazing tips on how to memorise a speech.
Let’s have a detailed look at these eight pillars of effective learning and understand how to memorise a good speech.
The first key to how to memorise a speech is to read it and read it fast.
It is not enough to just read the text. We must read it fast, without slowing on the lines for too long.
Why must we read fast?
Our brain needs constant stimulation to stay focused. Scientists suggest that the brain wanders when it does not find its current engagement rewarding enough. It looks for tasks that challenge its capacities. Slow reading denies our brain of any stimulus. Our brain then seeks that stimulus elsewhere and gets distracted. Thus, it can no longer absorb the words that are in front of our eyes.
In contrast, when we’re busy with our work, we rarely think of anything else. Jim Kwik provides an excellent example to prove this brain behaviour.
The case of the racing car driver:
When we drive slowly in heavy traffic, we often find our minds wandering. We think about incomplete tasks at work, pending chores at home, other problems in our lives, and more. In contrast, when Formula-1 car race drivers speed along the race track, do their minds think of anything else other than the driving?
Our brain acts similarly.
Take the speed reading challenge
When we force our brain to work in top gear, it entirely focuses on the task at hand. Likewise, when we read fast, we fully engage the brain’s resources to take in the information we’re feeding into it at high speed. It challenges our mind to perform at a higher level. It has no room to absorb any other information.
As a result of the better focus, our understanding of the text improves. And a better grasp leads to better recall.
How can we read fast?
Additionally, using a visual pacer can help us boost our focus when we are reading. It is our eye’s natural bent to get attracted to motion. When we use a visual pacer, it guides our eyes along the lines, forcing them to concentrate on the words. It improves the speed of our reading.
Here’re some visual pacers that we can use:
- Underlining the text printed out in a hardcopy
- Highlighting to make the printed words stand out
- Tracing the words with our fingertips or the cursor if we’re reading from a screen
The second key to how to memorise a speech is to spend some time after reading to think about what we read.
When we’re trying to learn something by heart, it’s important to think about the words we’re reading. Taking in the meaning of the lines helps us to improve our recall.
For example, actors get into character when they learn their lines for any movie. Reflecting helps our brain familiarise itself with the text’s message. Therefore, we must spend some time after reading to reflect on the meaning of the words in the speech.
The 3rd key to how to memorise a speech is to handwrite the content word for word.
Research suggests that writing by hand improves our ability to remember the words we write. Handwriting uses our motor skills to create the shape of each letter and form the words and sentences. Plus, our visual perception of what we’re writing, and our sense of touch helps too. This combination strengthens our natural power of learning.
Scientific studies have proven that when we write by hand, our hand movements leave a memory in our brain. Thus handwritten words stay in our memory for a longer span of time.
According to Dr Helen Macpherson, from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN) at Deakin University, “The very nature of handwriting means that you’ve to write and organise as you’re thinking. It’s the way the handwriting forces you to organise your thoughts that leads to deeper processing.”
Thus, writing by hand instead of typing deeply engages our brain in processing the information in detail. And that prints the words in our memory. Hence, after we read what we’re trying to memorise, we must write it down by hand. Is this why our teachers asked us to write a statement multiple times as a punishment in school? Now we know that the punishment was a boon in disguise.
The 4th key to how to memorise a speech is to act out what we want to memorise.
It is important to rehearse our speech and delivery. Studies prove that acting, perfecting our voice nuances and gestures while uttering a word or phrase, can help us remember better. We can also recognise what to say and how to say it too. And that goes a long way towards learning how to memorise a speech.
Here’re the benefits:
- Recognising the thought-flow: Even if someone interrupts us during our speech delivery, we can pick up from where we left and keep our conversation coherent.
- Avoiding sounding robotic: We start to feel the message in the content, unearthing the right semantics. This feeling gives the appearance that the words are coming to us as we speak.
The ideal practice is to rehearse with a learning buddy. A live audience simulates a real stage performance and can also give us valuable feedback to better our delivery.
However, if we do not have anyone to help us out, we can use apps like Rehearsal.
The 5th key to how to memorise a speech is to change how we’re expressing and experiencing the script.
Our brain prospers on novelty. Anything that stands out as different from the ordinary. For example, a red dress in the middle of black suits grabs our attention. Hence, we have to re-form the speech or our experience of it. We should make it sound new to the brain and lock it in our memories.
How can we restructure our speech experience?
We can say the words aloud by changing the tonality, volume, accent, tempo and turning the normal voice into a cartoon voice. Such changes in our expressions can help us fix the lines in our minds.
The 6th key to a better memory is to ration our learning.
Scientific studies have proven that our attention increases and reduces in phases.
What is the primacy/ recency effect?
The primacy/ recency effect controls our ability to access information after the learning period is over. Dr David Sousa explains this fact in his book How the Brain Learns. He writes how it was observed that our brain stores information better at the beginning (primacy) and the end (recency) of an episode. These phases are the prime-times. The information presented in between these two phases, the down-time, becomes blurred. As a result, rationing our learning is vital.
What does it mean to ration our learning?
Dr. Sousa observed that the time span of the downtime is inversely related to that of the learning episode. Hence, introducing new learning material to our minds in frequent, short learning episodes can help. It is much better than trying to learn the whole matter at a stretch.
Therefore, we should adopt the following styles to learning:
- Break the text we want to memorise into bite-sized pieces
- Restrict our learning time to 25 to 30-minute periods
The 7th key to how to memorise a speech is by setting a speech or text into our memory is to record it and listen to it repeatedly.
We can record the speech, or any content we want to remember, into our phone and listen to it all day long.
When is the best time to listen to our recording?
Psychological studies have shown that motion boosts our memory performance. Hence, we should aim at listening to our recording when we’re either walking or exercising.
The 8th key to how to memorise a speech is to stimulate our senses while learning.
The space in which we learn gets linked to whatever we’re learning at that time. Hence, if we match our sensory feelings about our environment with our learning, we can improve our memory.
The brain hack for utilising our environment for better recalls a study showed that when divers learned a list of words underwater, they recalled the list better in an underwater setting than on land. Studying in the same environment can help. For example, the meeting room, where we have to deliver our speech, can boost our memory when it is time to give the speech.
However, it may not always be possible to learn at the same place where we have to perform. The solution is to create our own space that we can carry with us. Isn’t it a great tip?
How can we create a micro-environment to enhance our memory through recall?
We can utilise our sense of smell by wearing the same perfume while learning as well as while delivering the speech. The smell of that perfume, cologne, or aftershave gets linked with the speech, helping us to summon the words to our minds.
Jim Kwik suggests using perfumes of peppermint or rosemary essential oils for such learning practices.
To sum it up, the key learning points on how to memorise a speech verbatim are as follows:
- An un-stimulated brain gets easily distracted.
- Reading fast increases our comprehension.
- Handwriting improves our capacity to recollect.
- We should ration our learning to 25 to 30-minute chunks.
- Rehearsing, restructuring how we experience the text, and associating our sense of smell with the matter we’re learning can help us remember well.
As Jim Kwik puts it, “Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner anywhere.” We should consciously practice these techniques to train our brains and improve our memorising and learning efficiency. The more we sharpen our learning powers, the more is the success that we can achieve in our chosen field. Hope these tips on how to memorise a speech helped you. On contrary, if you have any tips of your own on how to memorise a speech, please mention in the comments section below for us.
If you found this article interesting and want to go deeper into this topic, I would suggest you a great books from one of my favourite teachers and healer:
Have a Good Day & Life.
Wellness Lover & Explorer