Tips on Memorising Lines and Speeches

From trying to remember all your key points and phrases for your speech at the charity dinner gala to engaging in some last minute cramming sessions for your solo lines in your play, we all have different techniques we use when trying to memorise.

Imagine walking onto the stage, seeing a sea of faces and your entire mind going blank! The sheer horror! Three fundamental principles to remember when trying to memorise a speech are: try to tell a story; associate concepts and create an acronym; and ‘get physical’ with your speech.

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When it comes to telling stories, I’m talking half sit-around-the-camp-fire, half scare-the-kids-as-much-as-physically-possible-at-halloween. That means open every faucet of emotion, vivid detail and logical sequence in the tap of your mind and let those brain juices flow! Your listeners will learn and retain more when listening to stories. Such stories can range from using a relevantly interesting experience as a case study to describing two different periods to show a rate of success, etc. When using a story that you’ve experienced, there is a natural order of events and this helps you to recall more easily, offering in return free-flowing rhetoric and effortless poise.

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By taking concepts or ‘bits’ of your speech or presentation and associating these concepts to create an acronym, your recall rate will increase and you will find it easier to manoeuvre through different parts of your speech. Comedians use a technique known as CRAM (Concentrate, Repeat, Answer and Move on). They assign each segment of their presentation or speech a key word. They then take the first letter of their key word for each segment and create an acronym. This proves useful, as it allowsthem to go through a whole piece or story without any notes or prompts from others.

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Getting physical with a speech is a lot easier than it sounds. It refers to ‘acting’ out parts of your speech, in order to maximise your memory. You can walk to one side of the stage when speaking about certain experiences occurring in your past and then you can move to the other side of the stage when referring to experiences and predictions you have regarding the future. You can keep your arms and hands in a lower position when describing more depressing aspects of your speech, whilst raising them when referring to more prosperous, positive points in your speech. You get my gist. Triggers and symbols such as these help to characterise your speech, giving it more relativity and engagement with your listeners. It creates anxiety in your audience, whilst also triggering your own memory when you physically change your stances and movement. 2 for the price of 1 ey!

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