How to Memorize a Speech [Infographic]

Alexandra Ashton 4m 995 #memorizespeech

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To Memorize a Speech Does Not Have To Be Difficult

Having to give a speech can be a difficult experience. Most people think that writing a speech is hard to do, but that is the easy part. Memorizing it and talking in front of people is the scariest part of speeches. Luckily there is some advice that can help you memorize that speech and impress the whole audience. You can finally say goodbye to unpractical note cards.

Can you imagine anything worse than accidentally mixing notes? You will be delivering a speech that has no beginning and no end. By the time you notice what went wrong, it will be too late to make it right. Embarrassing. Using note cards can easily confuse you because this way you can’t concentrate on your speech. You will always need to pay attention to them and worry about skipping one of the cards.

Did you know that there is an easy way to overcome all the difficulties of delivering a speech? According to the studies, it is really hard to memorize verbatim text, but your brain can easily remember distinctive images and the relationships between them. This is why you should always visualize your speech.

By visualizing your speech you will only need to remember key images which will present the main milestones of the speech. To make these images even more memorable you should try exaggerating it. This way you will have no problem memorizing this speech and delivering it in front of the audience. Read this great infographic to find out amazing tips about how to memorize your speech.

How to Memorize a Speech [Infographic]

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Studies have shown that, when learning a speech, it’s extremely difficult to memorize verbatim text.*

It’s much easier for the brain to remember distinctive concepts and images and the relationships between them.

So how do you apply this approach to your speech? Let’s look at a short speech as an example.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to thank you all for coming today to celebrate Mark and Linda finally tying the knot. I first met Mark back when we were at school together, and I think the first thing I noticed were those ridiculous yellow Nike trainers he used to wear – unfortunately his fashion sense hasn’t improved all that much! I’ve promised not to embarrass him today, so I won’t mention the time he rear-ended his dad’s car, or that time we found him asleep in a pub toilet. Luckily, he’s found someone special enough to look past all that, and I couldn’t be happier for them. I’d like to wish the happy couple well and toast their future happiness. Ladies and gentleman, to the bride and groom.


1. Visualize Your Speech

Rather than trying to memorize the speech word for word, dissect the speech into a number of key images. In this speech, the key images come from anecdotes:

  1. “Those ridiculous yellow Nike trainers” are the first thing the speaker reminisces about.
  2. The car is the main image in the speaker’s anecdote about Mark’s driving mishaps.
  3. A strong image of the place Mark was found asleep in the speaker’s final anecdote.

By identifying and visualizing the main milestones of the speech, the speaker can commit anecdotes to memory.

2. Blow It Up

Take the three images and exaggerate them they become distinctive.

  1. The yellow trainers – You see a pair of trainers brighter than the sun at the side of the road.
  2. Mark’s dad’s car – They have fallen out of a car that’s been smashed to bits.
  3. The toilet cubicle – A man sees this and hides in a giant toilet cubicle where he falls asleep.

By exaggerating the images, they become even more memorable.

3. Place Your Images

Next, assign each of the images a location.

To do this, create a mental narrative featuring the elements, with each image being in a distinctive location along the journey.

By traversing these locations in your mind, you can memorize both the different parts of the speech and the order in which they appear.

4. Put It All Together

Let’s try it with another example speech:

“Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple has grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started?”- Steve Jobs, Commencement address at Stanford, 2005


From this speech, the key images could be: From the locations, you could try something like this:
Apple in my parents’ garage You open your garage, and there’s a small apple in the middle of the floor.
Apple had grown Suddenly, it grows to a colossal size.
Over 4000 employees This causes a huge crowd to gather, and a town is founded inside the giant apple.
Macintosh There are 4000 people working inside the apple, making a giant Mac(k)instosh coat to protect it.
I got fired Unfortunately, it begins to rain. The apple quickly dissolves and everyone is fired.


6 Tips for Memorizing Your Speech

    1. Learn the key images and themes, rather than trying to memorize a speech word for word.
    2. Blueberries are proven to improve memory and slow cognitive decline.
    3. Drinking green tea increases neuroplasticity between the parietal and frontal areas of the brain, improving memory.
    4. Napping can improve your capacity to commit new information to memory.
    5. Improving your neuroplasticity will aid in improving your memory – simple tasks such as doodling or taking up new hobbies can help.
    6. Eating foods rich in omega fatty acids can improve memory.

* For a comprehensive list of similar studies, please refer to the 2010 Princeton study on cognitive learning by Diemand-Yauman, Oppenheimer, and Vaughan.

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