5 Steps to Memorising the Key Points of Your Speech or Presentation

Speaking without notes is a great way to dramatically improve your public speaking. However, often fear and lack of confidence in one’s memory skills can hold even the most experienced speakers back from this. Here are five steps to help you achieve this.

Note: I do not recommend that you memorise speeches word for word as this can sound very cold and over-rehearsed, with the exception of some very experienced speakers and actors. It is generally much better to memorise the key points so that these can serve as cues to help you speak.

1) Organise your speech – Before you to to memorise your speech, make sure it is well structured. What are the key points and facts that you wish to get across? Eliminating unnecessary items and improving the structure of your speech can improve delivery as well as your ability to recall the key points.

2) Pick out the key points – Try to pick out only the necessary key points that will enable you to deliver the speech. Many speakers will write these on cue-cards, however you can easily memorise these using visual memory techniques.

3) Use memory techniques – Your mind works by association, paint mental pictures of what you are trying to remember, and it will be quickly committed to memory. Turn each key points into pictures in your imagination and then link them together.

E.g. You delivering a short speech about your hobbies, and you want to remember the following points: Soccer, Swimming, Travelling

You could link these together in your head… e.g. start off by imagining a soccer player kicking a ball into a swimming pool, a man overburdened by a giant travelling backpack while swimming catches the ball in the pool!

Pick an image that is personal to you. Something which will help YOU remember a point may not work for anyone else but you! Try to use:

  • Your own experiences
  • Stereotypes
  • Inside jokes
  • People or celebrities
  • …or anything that will help you remember!

Take your memory to the next level by using the simple but extremely effective Journey or ‘Loci’ technique to remember a virtually unlimited amount of information.
It is the method that almost every memory champion uses to demonstrate amazing feats of memory. Sign up to our Free Course to learn how to use this.

4) Rehearse and review – Rehearse the speech out loud as often as you can, using your your phone or video recorder if possible. Walk through the mental pictures as you are practising your speech. This will further cement the points in your memory.

5) Manage anxiety and fear on speech day – The reason we ‘blank’ is a result of the ‘fight or flight’ adrenaline response to our anxiety. Practice deep breathing and try to visualise your success. When delivering your first few speeches, you may be very nervous. However try to accept the stress, and strive to consistently improve and become more comfortable each time you speak.

If possible try to get as much practice as possible in speaking, such as through your local Toastmasters club.

Those are the 5 steps to help you speak without notes. If you have any questions or think I left anything out then please leave a comment below!

Do you have a friend or colleague that you think would benefit from practising their public speaking?Then share this article with them 🙂

Also check out my slideshare below on this:

Thanks for reading!
Alan Walsh


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