Sunday, July 12, 2009

The ABC's of Public Speaking - M is for Memorize

M is for Memorize

There is nothing worse than sitting in the audience listening to a speaker read their speech. I am always shocked when presenters go verbatim from a script or have to refer to their notes every fifteen seconds.

I am not suggesting that you must to memorize your entire talk, but you should know your material well enough that your notes or your PowerPoint slides are used to keep you on track, not as the center piece of your attention.

The thought of memorization makes people nervous. They fear that it will be too difficult or that they will fail in their efforts and be alone on stage with no brain wave activity. Nobody wants to forget their way when giving a speech, and thus they grab hold of notes and never let go.

The reality is that you do not need to memorize everything in your presentation to have that natural delivery style. To be effective you should put your attention into memorizing the opening, the close and your signature stories.

When you begin speaking you will have only about a minute to gain the attention of the audience. If you have a strong opening and deliver it with confidence and style, you will capture their interest and create a level of expectation.

The same is true with your conclusion. The audience will remember you most for your closing remarks and call to action than for any other part of your talk. Hit them with a strong and energetic finale and you will have more of an impact than if you just read your way to the end.

Having signature stories are also a powerful way to impact your audience. These are stories that are relevant to your topic and that you have memorized and practiced over time so that you can deliver them with captivating poise.

Many novice speakers worry about telling the same stories in subsequent presentations, as they fear that some in the audience will have seen them before, and thus will feel it is repetitive. The reality is that you will rarely have too many repeat audience members at your speeches, and those who have seen you in the past will not be critical if some of your material is the same each time. Professional speakers will often have powerful anecdotes which they weave into all presentations, as they know that these gems will impact the audience.

Put the time into developing and memorizing your beginning, ending and signature stories and do not refer to your notes or slides while delivering these forceful flashes of fancy. Look right into the eyes of the audience and make the connection with their hearts. If you do this correctly, you can use notes throughout the rest of your time on stage and most people will think you have memorized the entire presentation.

Have A Great Day.


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