If you have an upcoming speech or presentation, you’ve probably wondered whether or not you should try to memorize it.
Some people memorize the speech word-for-word, some people use notecards, and some don’t commit any bit of their speech to memory. But what’s best?
In our ultimate how-to guide, we’ll cover how to memorize a speech fast, why memorizing speeches is beneficial, common pitfalls when trying to memorize a speech, and other tips for memorization.
Why Should You Memorize a Speech?
Learning how to memorize a speech — or at least the main parts of a speech — can be incredibly beneficial for any public speaker. Your audience will understand your message or the information you’re trying to convey much easier if you’ve memorized the key points. Chances are, you’ll speak more clearly and appear more confident and engaging.
Think about it: If you’re reading a speech from a piece of paper or your phone, or if you’re just reading the slides of your presentation, you’re hindering the connection with your audience.
On the other hand, if you’ve memorized a speech, it’ll sound more natural, conversational, and almost informal, which helps people relate to what you’re saying. Using note cards is totally fine, but the more you’ve memorized, the easier it is to deliver a successful speech.
There are tons of benefits to learning how to memorize a speech. For example, you’ll:
- Master effective public communication, one of the most helpful skills you can have (no matter what career or industry you’re involved in)
- Build and a cultivate closer connection with your audience
- Show just how knowledgeable you are about the subject you’re covering
- Shine a light on your public speaking skills
However, memorizing a speech can be challenging for lots of people.
What’s the fastest way to memorize a speech?
How fast it’ll take you to memorize a speech depends. But at the very least, try to give youself an hour’s worth of time.
How to Memorize a Speech Fast
To memorize a speech fast, you’ll have to put in some work and practice.
The best way to practice memorizing a speech is through a speech coach like Yoodli. Yoodli uses AI capabilities to analyze a user’s speech to provide them with insights they can use to improve.
It can tell you if you’re talking too fast, if you’re using too many filler words, and even if you’re using non-inclusive language by accident. You’ll get coaching comments too, including actionable suggestions to take your speech to the next level — completely for free.
Once you’ve recorded or uploaded a video of yourself practicing your speech, you’ll get instant analytics and feedback you can take advantage of.
Here are some more specific tips on how to memorize a speech fast, including the specifics for the best way to practice.
5 Tips for How to Memorize a Speech Fast
We already know there’s a plethora of benefits to memorizing a speech. From improving your confidence to building reliable connections with your audience, memorizing at least parts of your speech can take your public speaking skills to the next level.
Here are the top five tips to memorize a speech fast.
1. Write your speech out first.
Before you do anything, write your speech out in full. You can also make an outline for the overall speech (this will help you identify some key points for later).
Making an outline and writing out your speech also helps you nail the structure and plan not only what you want to say, but when you want to say it. If you’re wondering how many words you should aim for, you can make an estimate based on the time limit you’re going for. For example, evaluating how many words in a five-minute speech can help you make an appropriate estimate.
2. Start by reading your speech word for word.
Even though your goal isn’t to read your speech word-for-word to your audience, reading it to yourself in full can help you identify areas that don’t work. There might be some awkward phrasing or even a mistake or two. Reading it aloud helps you target these.
You can change overly complex information or complicated jargon to simpler terms, making it easier for the audience to understand and easier for you to convey.
3. Identify your speech’s key points.
Since you have an outline and full speech written out, identifying your speech’s main points will be easier.
If you’re feeling stuck, try thinking of the top three main points you’d like to make. Then, you can break down those main points into smaller key points via a method called chunking. You can think of it like a tree.
The main idea would be the tree trunk. So, for example, if you were giving a presentation on cybersecurity, you might have three main branches: information sharing, federal networks, and critical infrastructure protection. Under the information sharing branch, you might have a few other smaller branches, like:
- Information sharing programs
- Traffic Light Protocol (TLP)
- Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS)
Chunking information like this can help break your speech down into bite-sized, consumable pieces that are easier to memorize.
4. Practice, practice, practice.
Most importantly of all, to memorize a speech, you need to practice. Practicing through Yoodli is a great option, since you’ll get instantaneous, individualized feedback for improvement. You can use this AI speech coach to skip the guesswork and find exactly what you need to work on.
For example, maybe Yoodli flags your filler word usage as an area for improvement. Now, you know exactly what you need to work on. You can even play games on Yoodli, like “No Filler,” that tests your ability to go without fillers for a set period of time.
Whichever way you practice, it’s always easier when you have some direct feedback to work off of.
5. Don’t stress.
Easier said than done. But keeping your cool is essential to memorize a speech. Getting overwhelmed or overly anxious can derail your progress. Nerves can affect your practice and your speech’s delivery, too.
Use some relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and mindful pauses. Remember: You’re fully capable of giving a successful speech.
Common Mistakes When You’re Learning How to Memorize a Speech
If you’re learning how to memorize a speech, you’ll want to avoid these common pitfalls: memorizing the speech in full and not preparing at all.
Although you might be tempted to memorize the entire speech just to be safe, it actually does more harm than good. Here’s why: You could completely lose the actual message in staying too close to the script.
If you’re so focused on not slipping up and merely reciting the speech, there’s a good chance you’ll sound too robotic or monotonic.
Memorizing your speech in full also puts extra pressure on yourself, whether you realize it or not. Going off script can inevitably cause you to panic, since you didn’t practice anything other than the word-for-word speech.
However, not preparing at all is an even bigger mistake when you’re learning how to memorize a speech.
This is the complete opposite of the first pitfall. People who choose not to prepare usually do so because they’re worried they’ll sound too monotonic if they try to memorize any part of their speech. However, that’s not the case if you stick to memorizing the key points.
It’s always better to prepare through practice and key memorization than to just wing it. Winging it is too big a risk, especially if the speech and presentation could affect your career.
How to Improve Your Memorization Skills
When you’re learning how to memorize a speech fast, sometimes working on your core memorization skills can make a world of difference.
Here are four quick tips to improve your memorization skills, especially if you have a speech or presentation coming up.
- Get some good rest. Although you might be nervous about your speech (or you might be tempted to stay up all night practicing), it’s essential to get good sleep if you’re working on your memory.
- Make sure you’re eating right. Nerves aside, you shouldn’t be skipping meals. Make sure you’re eating healthful foods and staying hydrated. Being dehydrated or hungry can affect how your brain remembers things.
- Be sure you stay organized. Just like your notes and speech should be well-organized, so should your overall space. It’s difficult to memorize anything when you’re in a cluttered, distracting environment, so staying organized can help with this issue.
- Keep your mind sharp. It’s easier to memorize things if you’re working on your mental capabilities as well. Keeping your mind sharp can include doing things like: crossword or sudoku puzzles, finding a new hobby, reading, playing music, or even in-person activities, like volunteer work. All of these activities can help prevent memory loss in the future.
The Bottom Line
Learning how to memorize a speech can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Usually, you aren’t trying to deliver a perfect monologue. The goal of giving speeches and presentations is to convey information in a meaningful, effective way.
By learning a few tips for how to memorize a speech fast, you’ll be able to break down the speech into manageable, key points that are more easily remembered.