Lots of people want to get better at public speaking and they try to write out a presentation but then they can’t really remember exactly what they wanted to say.
I mean, it’s one thing to come up with a presentation but how do you actually memorize your presentation?
As a speaker, you know that you shouldn’t read off a script because it just doesn’t look good. And you know that it’s going to make your presentation a million times better if you’re just on stage and you know your presentation cold.
But how do you actually remember it?
Some speakers just make power-point slides and they don’t memorize their presentation, they just look back to see what slide is on the screen and then talk about the slide. That’s a sign that the speaker doesn’t really know where they’re going. It’s a sign that you’re not dealing with a pro speaker.
What most speakers don’t realize is that when you look back at your slides to see what you’re supposed to talk about next, you’re actually coming across as less confident. A confident person just knows what to do. They’re 100% in charge and they’re sure of themselves. But when you look back at the slide, you’re basically saying, “I’m not sure what to talk about…oh yea…lets talk about that.”
It’s very subtle but it can make all the difference between a good presentation and a great one.
And that’s why you need to memorize your presentation. So here’s how you do it.
Memorizing your presentation actually starts with how you build your presentation.
Lets say you’re making a powerpoint presentation. Most speakers think about what content they want to deliver and then they create a slide for each piece of content. They try to make the slide look all pretty, they put it in the order that they think makes sense…and bam, they’re done.
They think that because they’re done making the powerpoint then that means they’re done with the presentation.
And some speakers might try to practice their presentation. So they try to memorize the slides and just talk. They might have a couple of ideas on what they’re going to say but there’s no real script…they just see the slide and talk about the slide.
Or let’s say that instead of creating the slides, you decide to write the script. Lets say that you’re writing word for word what you’re going to say on stage. Once you’ve written word for word what you’re going to say, now you try to memorize it and you realize that it’s harder than you thought.
The way most speakers try to memorize their presentations is they create the presentation, and then they try to memorize it. But the way you’re going to really memorize it is to do it all at the same time and then you’re going to chunk information together.
So lets say you’re making powerpoint slides…
And lets say your first slide is the title and the title is, “How to make six figures from home.” And lets say your second slide has the 3 things you’re going to talk about.
What most speakers do is they create the slides. They make the text fancy, then they move onto the next slide.
What you need to do is create the presentation in your head while you’re creating the slides.
So after you design the slide that says, “How to make six figures from home,” you think about what you’re going to do and say at a live event. Maybe you envision yourself walking out on stage with a briefcase of money ($100,000 to be exact) and you walk out not saying a word. You open the briefcase and allow all this money to fall on the floor. Then your first slide comes up and you say, “I’m going to show each and every one of how you to get make money by the end of the presentation.”
Now you know your next slide has the 3 things you’re going to talk about. So maybe you’re going to talk about how to use Facebook, then Twitter, Then Google Adwords.
Well you have to make a decision.
Do you want to have a story at this point or do you want to do a cool demonstration?
Lets say you’re going to talk about a story of how you used Facebook to make $250,000 in a day. So on the table, you have your wallet because the wallet has a check for 250k. Just the sight of the wallet reminds you to tell your story about how you used Facebook to make all this money.
What you’re doing is while you’re creating the slides, you’re imaging the process of you speaking on stage.
And what you’re doing is you’re chunking information together.
So lets say that you’re going to talk about your Facebook story. Well you don’t need to write it out word for word and look back at your slides to remind you of the story. What you need to do is practice the story all by itself, and then when you’re on stage, your wallet reminds you, “Oh yea, I need to tell the story.”
And because you’ve chunked all the information about your story, you can just say it.
Now you know that after your story, it’s time to give them a brief introduction to yourself.
What you’re doing is your basically creating ‘markers’ in your presentation that says, “Marker 1, briefcase. Marker 2, Facebook story. Marker 3, My story” And because you know what you’re going to do with the briefcase and because you know your Facebook story and you know your own story, because you already know this, you don’t have to think about it…it just naturally happens.
You’re not struggling to remember because you’ve chunked everything together.
When I get on stage just to do a mind reading show, I’m up there for 60 minutes and if you put two shows back to back then you’ll notice that I pretty much say the same things throughout the entire presentation.
I didn’t sit down and try to memorize a script…I just said, “Ok, these are the 6 mind reading demonstrations I’m going to do for the show. This first one means I’m going to make sure I say this and this. Once I’m done with that, now I move onto the second one where I do this.”
And what I found was that it was a lot easier to remember what to say when you don’t try to remember it all as one thing but to remember chunks. My show is divided up into the different demonstrations I’m doing. Once I know that I’m going to do the demonstration involving the box, I just immediately know what I’m saying.
And that also brings me to this…
You have to know your stuff cold.
The biggest reason people have a hard time memorizing presentations is because they’re not a master in the topic they’re talking about. They might have done research and read a few books but they’re not a master on it.
When I’m on stage, I could easily go off my script but that’s because I know that no matter what I say, it’s going to be the right thing.
Your ability to master something will make it a lot easier to talk about.
Once you’ve mastered something, now you know the content, but now you have to also master the delivery of that content because if you’re boring then nobody’s going to listen. But it all starts with being able to master your content first.
And it’s also important to know when you need to memorize your presentation and when you don’t.
If it’s just a one-time presentation then you don’t really need to memorize everything. It’s like the commencement speeches where you see Steve Jobs or Jim Carey or other famous people giving these commencement speeches. They’re almost always looking down to remember what to talk about…but that’s because it’s a one time thing.
If you’re a motivational speaker and you’re going to give the speech over and over then you better memorize it and learn how to deliver it in a really entertaining way. And that’s just going to come over time with you actually speaking on stage.
But the key to memorizing your presentation is to do it while you’re making the presentation.
While you’re making the slides or writing the script, think of what you’re going to be doing on stage. Visualize it. Envision yourself actually doing it as you’re writing it. Picture yourself actually saying words on stage as you’re creating the presentation.
Then when you go over that presentation and you’re practicing, you’re going to realize that it’s a lot easier to remember because you already pictured it in your mind.
And that’s how you memorize your presentations really fast.