How to Memorize a Speech : Techniques that work

You’ve probably heard that seemingly bizarre statistic before stating people are far more terrified of public speaking than they are of anything else in life, including death!

never forget your lines

This may sound ridiculous at first until you think of all the negative possibilities people associate with public speaking. People worry a lot about feeling embarrassed by messing up their speech or saying something unpopular in front of a large crowd, and many of these fears revolve around worrying about forgetting what they were supposed to say in the first place.

First Things First- What’s Memory?

The first big concept we need to unpack to set the stage for memorizing any speech, any time is memory itself. Memory isn’t anything complicated, not really. It’s simply the total of the associations we build in our lives. This is a problem if you only have negative associations, but if you rewire yourself with positive associations memory will be your best friend.

There is a basic ‘recall’ function to memory, but this function is highly conditional on our associations. This is why you can memorize a long speech and recall it perfectly when practicing in the shower and then forget the very first line when speaking in front of a crowd. You’ve built positive associations with giving the speech in the shower but you haven’t built positive associations giving the speech in a lecture or conference hall.

The reason you have positive associations in private is due to practice and repetition. You obviously can’t practice your speech over and over again in front of a crowd so you need to rely on creating positive associations with that context using your imagination through visualization. Since memory is little more than association it stands to reason a visualized association is no less ‘real’ than a conventionally practiced association.

Creating the Right Positive Associations

visualize others

You need to repeatedly visualize yourself giving your speech in front of a crowd.
When you practice the speech do so with your eyes closed somewhere without a lot of sensory stimulation so you can deeply tune into imagining every facet of the environment you will eventually give your speech in.
Visualize the crowd, each individual face and the sea of people itself. Visualize the sounds in the room, the sound of your voice reverberating from the microphone. Visualize how you feel standing up there, visualize the lights and the podium if you’ll have one. Make this association as real as possible.
Create a positive visual association you can return to again and again when you practice your speech. By the time you actually give the speech you will have transformed your association from negative to positive and you will perform flawlessly.

Going Deeper

There are other techniques you can perform to make this process work even better for you. For example you can start by creating a visualization of watching yourself giving the speech as if you were sitting in the crowd, and you can visualize walking into that successful version of yourself to absorb their confidence and competence. You can deepen this positive association by performing the Three Fingers Technique, clasping the tips of your forefinger, your middle finger and your thumb together to anchor these positive feelings and associations to this physical action. When you step up to the podium and deliver your speech perform this slight physical action again and you’ll immediately return to that positive state.

Ultimately it’s important you use whatever techniques you need to create thorough and convincing positive associations with giving your fully memorized speech in the correct context, again and again. When you make these positive associations real enough you’ll find the actual moment follows suit.

Once your speech is together, find a quiet place and read it out loud. Read it slowly and carefully. The first time you hear your speech you might need to adjust some parts. Spend time to perfect the content, it’s your chance now to get it right.

focus on meanings

As you read aloud, listen to every word that you say – focusing on the meaning, and the point you are making. The more you practice you’ll find yourself remembering certain parts of the speech, look away from your notes as much as possible to reinforce your ability to recite from memory. If you wrote your own speech you’ll find you are soon able to recite most of the content. If someone prepared the speech for you, practicing the speech will help you get familiar with all of the words, and make you more confident when you present.

If you don’t have time to spend hours actively memorizing your speech, this technique is great to get it into your brain with the minimum of effort. Grab your phone and record one of the practice runs you make reading your script. Make sure it’s the final version, this technique uses rote learning and will have you repeating your speech word for word.

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Practice makes perfect, and the more you practice the smoother your delivery will be. Go to your bedroom or somewhere there’s a mirror, stand up tall and deliver your speech. Don’t let yourself get distracted with your reflection, instead focus on the words you are speaking.

Watching yourself speak is a great confidence booster, and gets you ready for presenting to an audience. Time yourself as you are rehearsing, you want your delivery of the final speech to be perfect – not stretching too long or rushing through it too fast!

You will master your non-verbal communication as you speak to the mirror. It lets you easily identify your expressions so you can add enthusiasm and commitment into your delivery.

source :

Nonverbal Communication


What is Nonverbal Communication?

Overall, Nonverbal Communication is defined as the process of using wordless messages to generate meaning.

The use of Nonverbal Communication can create a whole new meaning to a message.

Sometimes, it takes Nonverbal Communication to relay a message in order to communicate it in a more understanding way.


Why Is Nonverbal Communication Important?

The usage of Nonverbal Communication can clarify even the toughest messages to understand.

When speaking with a person, it makes a difference to see them and understand the way that they are feeling

based not only through their words, but also through their gestures, expressions, and all characteristics

that fit into the Nonverbal Communication category. I

n addition, nonverbal cues can sometimes be more meaningful than words themselves.

However, when put together, a message is then complete.

Nonverbal Communication completes communication as a whole.


The Forms of Nonverbal Communication:


Space involves the concept of Proxemics,  (meaning the study of space and distance).

There are different forms of space used for different times, places, and situations that communication takes place.

  • Intimate, Personal, Social and Public distances make up the concept of space.Intimate distances are those of 18 in. and used by those who are closest to you.
  • Personal distances are often 18 in. to 4 ft. This distance is common for casual conversation.
  • Social distances range from 4 ft. to 12 ft. and are often used in less personal situations such as those in the workplace
  • Finally, there are Public distances. These distances exceed 12 ft. and is often used for situations involving public speaking or lecturing. This distance is used to reach mass numbers of individuals at a non-intimate level.Image

Facial expressions are a very common type of nonverbal communication.Nonverbal communication is communicating without the use of words or sounds.Some examples would be smiling to indicate happiness, a frown to indicate sadness, and a furrowed brow to indicate puzzlement or perhaps anger. There are other forms of this as well.You can hug someone to express joy, or yawn to express boredom or tiredness.Sometimes you may not even realize you are projecting these feelings as you may do them involuntarily.


Silence : As a form of Non verbal communication
“We cannot not Communicate”


Oculesics or Eye Behavior

The eyes are frequently referred to as the “windows to the soul” since they are capable of revealing a great deal about what a person if feeling or thinking. As you engage in conversation with another person, taking note of eye movements is a natural and important part of the communication process. Some common things you may note is whether people are making direct eye contact or averting their gaze, how much they are blinking, or if their pupils are dilated.

When evaluating body language, pay attention to the follow eye signals:

  • Eye gaze

When a person looks directly into your eyes when having a conversion, it indicates that they are interested and paying attention. However, prolonged eye contact can feel threatening. On the other hand, breaking eye contact and frequently looking away may indicate that the person is distracted, uncomfortable, or trying to conceal his or her real feelings.

  • Blinking

Blinking is natural, but you should also pay attention to whether a person is blinking too much or too little. People often blink more rapidly when they are feeling distressed or uncomfortable. Infrequent blinking may indicate that a person is intentionally trying to control his or her eye movements. For example, a poker player might blink less frequently because he is purposely trying to appear unexcited about the hand he was dealt.

  • Pupil size

One of the most subtle cues that eyes provide is through the size of the pupils. While light levels in the environment control pupil dilation, sometimes emotions can also cause small changes in pupil size. For example, you may have heard the phase “bedroom eyes” used to describe the look someone gives when they are attracted to another person.


Other Forms of Non Verbal Communication



Touching or Haptics :

This is also called  Tactile Communication, which is the use of touch within communication. As with any other form of nonverbal cues, there is a right and a wrong situation for touching. With family members whom you are close to, you may hug or hold their hand when trying to relay a message to them. However, in the workplace, people are often clear of tactile communication unless paired with business gestures such as a hand shake.


Haptic communication is a form of nonverbal communication and the way by which people and other animals communicate via touching. Touch, or the haptic sense, is extremely important for humans; as well as providing information about surfaces and textures it is a component of nonverbal communication in interpersonal relationships, and vital in conveying physical intimacy.

There are six different kinds of “touch”. These include: positive, playful, control, ritualistic, task-related and unintentional. It can be both sexual (kissing is one such example that is sometimes sexual) and platonic (such as hugging or tickling). Touch is the earliest sense to develop in the fetus. The development of an infant’s haptic senses and how it relates to the development of the other senses such as vision has been the target of much research. Human babies have been observed to have enormous difficulty surviving if they do not possess a sense of touch, even if they retain sight and hearing. Babies who can perceive through touch, even without sight and hearing, tend to fare much better.


Chronemics:  Refers to nonverbal communication of time.



Paralanguage is a component of meta-communication that may modify or nuance meaning, or convey emotion, such as prosody, pitch, volume, intonation etc. It is sometimes defined as relating to nonphonemic properties only. Paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously. The study of paralanguage is known as paralinguistics.
It refers on how you say your intended meanings and not what you say.

Paralinguistics refers to vocal communication that is separate from actual language. This includes factors such as tone of voice, loudness, inflection and pitch. Consider the powerful effect that tone of voice can have on the meaning of a sentence. When said in a strong tone of voice, listeners might interpret approval and enthusiasm. The same words said in a hesitant tone of voice might convey disapproval and a lack of interest.


Kinesics or Body Movement

All movements of the body have meaning (i.e. are not accidental), and that these non-verbal forms of language (or paralanguage) have a grammar that can be analyzed in similar terms to spoken language. Thus, a “kineme” is “similar to a phoneme because it consists of a group of movements which are not identical, but which may be used interchangeably without affecting social meaning”.



Deliberate movements and signals are an important way to communicate meaning without words. Common gestures include waving, pointing, and using fingers to indicate numeric amounts. Other gestures are arbitrary and related to culture.

Making the most of your body language

Communicating with someone close does not only involve talking and listening.

You communicate your love for your partner or spouse nonverbally with your body, by:

  • making and holding eye contact
  • holding hands
  • smiling, laughing
  • winking
  • ouching, stroking, cuddling, embracing
  • kissing


The Communication Process

Understanding the Nature of Oral Communication:

ImageDefining Communication

The word communication is derived from the Latin terms cum munis [to make common] and communicare [to share]. Hence, communication is defined as the exchange of information, thoughts, ideas, feeling and the like. Because of its complexity, scholars and experts cast various definitions of communication. Griffin (2006) says that there are around more than 120 definitions as applied in operationalizing the concept of communication.

Communication is any process in which people share information, ideas, and feelings to construct meaning, establish relations and build understanding. It is a meaningful exchange that involves not only the spoken and written word, but also body language, personal mannerisms and style, the physical environment – anything that adds meaning to a message (Hybels & Weaver, 1998). This process takes place through the exchange of verbal and nonverbal messages (Brooks & Heath, 1993).

Communication is nature to humans. We communicate because it is nature to our ability as feeling, thinking and socializing creatures. In our daily lives we always engage in various forms of communication. Our very existence and our relationships depend heavily on how we are able to communicate what we feel and think, yet we often overlook the importance of understanding communication because it is too common to us.

Looking at Communication as a Process

Communication takes place, everywhere at anytime. It changes in various situations and affects change among participants as the process takes place. Process implies dynamics and change. It implies parts interacting and influencing each other so as to function as a whole. Brooks and Heath posit that when we accept the concept of process, we view communication events and relationships as dynamic, systematic, transactional, adaptive, and continuous:

Communication is dynamic – it is not static. It is not fixed but always changing. As it deals with change of behavior it changes constantly.
Communication is systematic – a simple speech communication occurs within a larger system. It is a system itself composed of interrelated and interdependent elements working together to achieve a desired outcome.
Communication is transactional – the essence of the term transaction is relationship. Included in the transactional characteristic of communication is the fact that each communication event is unique combination of people, messages, and situation that operate to achieve some definite purpose.
Communication is adaptive – communication takes place with an intention to achieve some outcome. In this process it must adapt to change. Thus, communication must pay attention to the other person, to the topic, to the physical surroundings, to motives and needs, and to other elements that we will study in this text. The ability to adjust and adapt to changing situation is a characteristic of effective communication.
Communication is continuous – it has no beginning and no end. We can consider communication as a product of a previous communication event that proceeds to another communication situation.

The study of oral communication considers the process as essential to facilitate understanding between the speaker and the audience. Thus, communication is viewed as the process of understanding and sharing meaning consists of activities of exchange and sets of behavior that applies in the perception, interpretation, and comprehension of meaning of the verbal and non-verbal behavior of individuals (Pearson & Nelson, 2000). Therefore, oral communication is understood as that dynamic and systematic process of sharing meaning and understanding meaning through verbal and non-verbal exchange between individuals in interaction within a given context.


Elements of the Communication Process

Various elements work together to achieve a desired outcome as communication takes place. The basic components or parts of the communication system are: the communicators (sender and receiver), message channel, feedback, noise, situation, and the interdependence of all the elements in the process.  By that they are interrelated and work systematically.


The source of the communication transaction is the originator of the message. Also known as the sender of information, the source initiates the communication process. In speech communication, we can identify the source to be the speaker, the one delivering the message. In daily life situations we are all sources of information as we relate to others and speak our ideas to them. We are both a source of message, consciously and unconsciously.


In the simplest sense, a message may be thought of as an idea, concept, emotion, desire, or feeling that a person desires to share with another human being. A message may be in verbal or non-verbal codes. The purpose of a message is to evoke meaning in another person. Some messages are intentional some are not.


A channel is the means by which a message moves from a person to another. The channel is the medium or vehicle by which we are able to transmit the message to the recipient. The means we use to communicate is the channel. The country’s president to deliver his message to his fellowmen may speak face to face with an audience, via the broadcast media or via print. Language is the basic medium of communication available to man.


The receiver gets the message channeled by the source of information. In a one way communication process, he is in the other end. But in a dynamic communication process the receiver may start to share his ideas and hence become also a source of information for the originator of the message. Listeners and audience are receivers of information. In a classroom situation, the students spend a lot of time as receivers of information.


Feedback is that integral part of the human communication process that allows the speaker to monitor the process and to evaluate the success of an attempt to get the desired response from the receiver. Also called “return signals,” it has a regulatory effect upon the speaker since the speaker must adjust to the feedback responses in order to be successful. In a public communication situation, the response of acceptance of the audience with their applause may be considered a feedback.


Noise may occur anywhere along the communication line, and it may be physical, physiological, or psychological in nature. Noise is any interference in the communication process. Annoying vocal habits of the speaker may interfere in the transmission of his verbal signals. Noise as a barrier may originate from the source or the receiver, from the channel used in sending the message, or outside of the source and receiver’s control. The poor listening of the audience and their unnecessary actions may also interfere in the communication process.


Communication does not take place in a vacuum. Between communicators, the process takes place in a particular communication situation where the identifiable elements of the process work in a dynamic interrelation. This situation is referred to as the context – the when and where of a communication event. Communication contexts vary depending on the need, purpose, number of communicators and the ways exchange is taking place. Communication can be intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, organizational, cultural, public or mediated.

Knowing the elements of communication leads to a more meaningful understanding of the processes that make it work. We communicate and we know it is important for us. To communicate effectively, we need to have an understanding of how these elements work together in a process.


Brooks, W.D. & Heath, R.W. (1993). Speech communication. Madison, WI: Brown & Benchmark.

Griffin, E. (2006). A first look at communication theory, 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Higer Education.

Hybels, S. & Weaver, R. (1998). Communicating effectively: A definition of Commuinication. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Pearson, J.C. & Nelson, P.E. (2000). An introduction to human communication, understanding and sharing, 8th ed. Boston, MA: McGraw Hill Higher Education.