Ways to Remember Material

Remembering speeches can be a very intimidating experience. There are many ways one can remember material and I would like to focus on what I believe are the 4 common ways to remember material.

  1. Memorizing
  2. Reading from complete text
  3. Using Notes
  4. Using Visual Aids as Notes

Let’s take a look at each of these in detail.

1. Memorizing -In my opinion, this is absolutely the worst way to keep track of material. People are preoccupied with trying to remember the words to say and not the ideas behind the words (or with the audience). As a result, normal voice inflection disappears. With memorizing, mental blocks become inevitable. With memorizing it is not a matter of “will” you forget; it’s a matter of WHEN!

2. Reading from complete text – Listening to someone read a speech or presentation is hated by most people. People say, “If that’s all they were going to do is read there speech, I could have read it myself.” I’m sure many of us have experienced this at least once while attending a conference or two. Below are some reasons why I believe people read poorly:

·  The speaker loses normal voice inflection because they lose touch with the ideas behind the words. Listen for pauses. Natural speech is filled with pauses; unnatural speech is not.

·  The text isn’t spoken language – too often speakers write their speeches in “business language”. That is often hard to read, much less listen to.

·  The speech isn’t static – the potted plant will probably move more. There is little movement, little energy, little interest behind the lectern.

·  There’s no or little eye contact – any eye contact is with the text, not the audience. To read text while trying to maintain eye contact with the audience takes a lot of practice.

·  The speaker is scared – many speakers read because they are afraid to try anything else. They know reading will fail but at least it will fail with a small “f” rather than a capital one.

NOTE: Don’t get me wrong, there are times when speeches MUST be read. Many times it is necessary to read policy statements or company announcements. Also, some speeches must be timed right down to the second.


If reading is absolutely necessary, here are some suggestions:

·  Pay attention to the inflection in your voice – to sound natural, rehearse often, checking yourself for pauses. Ask yourself if your words sound the way you would say them if you weren’t reading. Tape yourself and listen to your own voice. Take notes where changes should be made with the inflection in your voice.

·  When preparing your written speech, say the words “out loud” first in order that your written text will read closer to your speaking style. This will make it easier to read and much easier to listen to. People often DO NOT write the same way as they speak and this makes reading more difficult. If we use wording and phrasing we normally use in our everyday language it will be easier to add the correct voice inflection and tone. Annotate your text to indicate which words to emphasize. Numbers are the easiest target words to say slowly with emphasis on each syllable.

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