Knowing how to memorize a presentation can seem daunting. Especially if you need to know how to remember a speech without notes. Prompt cards can be a lifeline. But they can also be distracting and unprofessional. Memorizing a speech gives power and presence to your presentation. It also allows you more space to use positive body language, connect with the audience and focus on the performance of your words.
So where to start? Finding the best way to memorize a presentation might seem scary. But it is entirely possible. All the best speakers, JFK, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, all had to start somewhere. Luckily, there are numerous memory techniques out there to help you along the way.
The palace technique is a popular memory method. That is because it is both fun and effective. It uses vivid, funny, and ridiculous images to allow easier recall of information. You connect your content to a memorable image, and when you recall the image, you recall the content. So for example, if memorising a presentation, you can walk through a series of vivid images that will help you remember the main points of your speech.
As Joshua Foer explains in the video below, the memory palace is an ancient technique invented in the 5th Century BC. It has also been popularised in modern entertainment by series like Sherlock and illusionists like Derren Brown.
This technique depends a lot upon how the brain reacts to space. There is a deep link between the memory of an event and the space in which it happened. Some use the mind palace so that they walk through different rooms of a building and the objects hold the significant point they want to remember. Others use more of a storyline. Either way, memory is connected to space. Once you give your mind a specific place to hold memories, you can teach yourself to remember details more easily.
In the video below, Joshua Foer once again endorses this technique. He specifically links the method to how to remember a speech. So check it out. It’s certainly one of the best if not the best way to memorize a presentation.
Mind maps similarly use space as a way to help your memory. They turn information into something visual that you mind can capture in one scene. It is a way to make something potential dense and boring into something bright and captivating. Instead of a list of content, a mind map is a shape. This is particularly useful for visual learners.
Check out this article for more in-depth advice about how to create effective mind maps.
While all these memory techniques are useful, for a natural and flowing speech, it is best to internalise your content. You don’t want to depend on a memory method so much that you are completely lost if you forget one step of the process. Instead, you should know your presentation so fully that you can improvise off-script if necessary. In fact, not saying every single written word of your speech might be better. It will make for more effortless listening and make the audience feel comfortable.
How to internalise your presentation? Practice! Find somewhere safe and quiet and perform your speech over and over. Do it for friends, family and colleagues. Take their advice as listeners and adapt it along the way. Don’t let your first performance be the big day of your presentation. A huge part of memory is repetition. So along with memory techniques, the best way to memorize a presentation is practice.
Eight Second Rule
For each new piece of content, you should focus for at least eight seconds. Research shows that this is how long it takes for information to pass from hippocampus into memory. Or basically, how long it takes us to process something new. In a modern world of instant gratification from technology, eight seconds is also the length of our attention spans.
So if you really want to know how to memorize a presentation, start by making sure you are really learning the content. Don’t pick up your phone. Don’t glance at the TV. Don’t check your email. Don’t call out to someone in the other room. Just focus. At least for eight seconds at a time.
Read Out Loud
Reading out loud is a great way to remember a speech. When you talk, the content is no longer on the page or inside your head. It has now been released into the world. Not only will you internalise the information, but it will also encourage confidence in your voice. You will learn how best to speak the words for when you actually give your presentation. Speaking out loud is also a great way to find out which words you stumble over. So you can edit your speech to make it smoother. If you really want to know how to remember a speech without notes, this is a great place to start.
There are many different types of learner. One key class of learner is auditory, and specifically, musical. Some find it easier to memorise material when they are listening to music. They connect the sound with the content, allowing their mind to process it in a positive and memorable way. Listening to music while learning also stimulates both hemispheres of the brain. This maximises brain power and helps the retention of information. So next time you’re thinking about how to remember a speech, listen to some learning tunes you guide you.
Improve Your Memory
Even if you don’t have a big presentation coming up, it could be useful to improve your memory anyway. Especially if you know you will have speeches and presentations to memorize in the future. You can regularly improve your day-to-day memory through small techniques. This will help you in general life to remember things and pay attention. Staying sharp will not only improve your work and social life, but it will also help you next time you have to know how to memorize a presentation. Having confidence in your memory abilities will boost your confidence and encourage success.
So find your best way to memorize a presentation and be brilliant during your next speech. For another memory method suggestion, check out our article about talking with hand gestures to help remember a speech.