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