Memorizing a Speech

I’m memorizing the flow of my current contest speech. I’m giving it tonight, and may use notes because of the major rewrite I just completed.  I mainly want to test the new material. I spent about five hours working on the speech last night and today. My technique is to set the whole speech in visual memory. That’s visually story-boarding the whole speech with a picture or image, opening each segment of the speech. The image shoud link to the previous image and also the next image.

For example, there is a section where I use a plumber as a methaphor for a doctor’s visit. So I when I get to that part of the speech I jog my memory with a visualization of a toilet. The next part of the speech refers to the year 1817. So I visualize the toilet again, this time I picture the year 1817 coming out of the toilet. Yes, it’s an odd picture. But for memorization, crazy is good. When I practice a speech, sometimes I just run thru the visual pictures. It’s quick to do and locks the flow of the speech together.

This is similar to a technique of using parts of your home as a
memorization jog. You first set up the flow of the house.
1. Living rom
2. Kitchen
3. Dining room
4. Hallway
5. Bathroom
6. Bedroom
7. Garage
Then you create a picture for each part of your speech. If the first part of your speech is about your father, you create the image of your father and put that image in the living room.

Your next story might be about a magic show. Link your picture of a magic show to the Dining Room. Then when you’re giving the speech, to get started you know you need to visit the Living Room to begin your talk: “Living room–oh, yes I was going to start by introducing my Dad.” After you tell the Dad story, you know you next must visit the Dining Room:”Oh yeah, my next part of the speech is about my Dad’s magic show.” You have just visited the Dining Room where your Dad was performing a magic show.

I’ve been working on my flow by creating linkable pictures to keep my sequence of stories on track. I’m not linking them to the geography of a house. I link one picture to the next, to the next, to the next. That works well for me, and when I’ve done it right, I can drop myself into a speech and know exactly where I’ve been, where I am, and where I’m going.

Manuscripting a speech word for word, is normally a bad technique. You force yourself to remember the sequence of words. You become a slave to the words. When you miss a word or a line, it can throw you totally off track.

Normally when I’m reaching the end of one of my speech segments or the end of one of my stories, I can see the picture coming into view leading me into the next part of the speech. The pictures keep pulling my speech forward by dropping one visual image after another into my mind.

Sometimes I create an idea outline, listing the order of my stories. I
don’t normally intend for this to be a memorization tool, but sometimes it turns out that I can see a mental picture of this idea outline. And it becomes a memorization tool without the intent. Sometimes your memorization technique just falls into place without design.

So that was my chore for today, to shapen my pictures, and nail down the structure of my talk.