Episode 072 -- Use a Big Face and How to Memorize a Speech


2-Minute Tip


Much of the communication we have with folks is non-verbal, and facial expressions play a big part in that.


When we conduct a presentation, though, we lose much of that subtlety because we are further from our audience. Instead of 2 feet away we are 10 or 20 feet away. To make up for that, we need to use much bigger and more dramatic facial expressions. Smile bigger. Open your eyes wider. Exaggerate your head tilt.


In practice it may feel like you are going too far and becoming silly. That's okay. Your probably still not going far enough.


When you use bigger expressions on stage, folks will see you as more lively and will pick up more on your meaning, even if they're not sure why.


Post Tip Discussion: How to Memorize a Speech


Generally -- don't. Don't memorize, internalize. Know your material well enough that you can generate the speech each time you rehearse or give it.


Of course there are some parts you should memorize.

  • Intro
  • Conclusion
  • Structure
  • Quotes.


There are some excellent reasons not to memorize the rest.


  • Lot of work. Rehearsal is a better use of your time.
  • A brain freeze where you go blank is more likely.
  • Getting back where you belong if you lose your place is tougher.
  • You're more likely to sound robotic.
  • It's harder to adapt if something changes at the last minute


That said, sometimes the detailed script matters a lot more, whether that's due to an approval process, legal/financial disclosure, crisis management, or some other reason. Business reason sometimes demand strict adherence to the text. In that case, follow these 8 steps to memorize your talk.

  1. Be one of the script writers.
  2. Don't start memorizing until the final version.
  3. Read the whole thing out loud.
  4. Memorize the structure.
  5. Repeat the structure until you have it memorized
  6. Go paragraph by paragraph, memorizing in pairs - 1 and 2, then 2 and 3, then 3 and 4, etc.
  7. Repeat the whole thing from memory.
  8. Record yourself reading it and play it back in the background to lock it in.


Then you can move on to rehearsals.


Call to Action


  • Don't memorize, internalize
  • If you do have to memorize, what steps do you use? Let us know in the comments here.
  • Use big facial expressions.
  • Share this episode with a colleague and subscribe to 2-Minute Talk Tips in your favorite podcast app.
  • Don't get best...get better.

Check out this episode!

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