Don’t memorize, familiarize

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Don’t memorize, familiarize

Category:Speech Prep

How do you memorize your speeches and your stories?  They seem to just flow like you have told them a million times.

The simple answer is…I don’t.

Don’t memorize; Familiarize.

Whenever I have a presentation, sermon, speech or a storytelling event I don’t memorize what I am going to say.  I have tried to memorize my speech and when I was an actor I had to do more memorization because I had someone else depending on my words, but speaking is different.  I don’t just want to repeat the words I want to deliver a message.

When I am getting started with a presentation I start by writing an outline of my points and think about my opening and my closing points.  Then I start talking.  I treat the speech like it is impromptu and see how things sound and feel. (This may be why I am so good at Table Topics in Toastmasters)  As I find things I like, I write them down.  I keep the things I like and discard the things I don’t.

When it comes time to actually deliver I have run through the entire thing dozens of times and I am very familiar with my points, my transitions and most importantly my open and close.  You may even say that I have memorized it by this point, but most of the time I haven’t practiced it the exact same way.

Does this mean I miss things I wrote down and I meant to say?  Yes.  Does it even mean I say things that I didn’t plan on saying?  Occasionally.  It means that every presentation is customized for the audience I am delivering to and is more natural to me.  I have heard people who delivered a memorized speech and you could tell.  If you have serious acting chops you may be able to deliver it in a way that doesn’t sound memorized but many of us aren’t that good.  So when you have a message to deliver familiarize your points but don’t memor


About Author

Jason Fisher

I has been speaking for for years as an actor, pastor and professional consultant. I have been an active member of toastmasters since 2014 and have been helping people to improve their presentation presence for longer than that. If you want help improving your presence contact me today.

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