remember not memorise

Remember your Presentation, do not Memorise

Remember not Memorise

As a trainer I’ve often been asked how I manage to remember my scripts and if I memorise them. Well, honestly no, I don’t memorise them and I don’t think it’s a good strategy. I’ve seen many people try to memorise their presentations and speeches. Only a few people managed to memorise successfully. The majority failed, got stuck and started looking in their heads for the right word and lost their train of thought. Of course, this gives the audience the impression you are unprepared and that you don’t know what you’re talking about. So the trick of being able to give a presentation or speech successfully without using a script or cue cards is to remember your key points or message.

This involves practice as well as a certain level of eloquence.

How do you remember all the details? 

  1. The first step is to clearly understand your topic or message, be an expert in it. If you have done your homework properly around your presentation, you will know what I mean. In case you’re unsure then read this blog post about perfecting your presentation first.
  2. The second step is to define the benefit your audience will have from the information you are giving them.
  3. The final step is to make an outline of your presentation or speech.

1.  Understand your topic

I’m sure you could talk endlessly about your hobby, because you are deeply interested in it. You know everything there is to know about it. Now concerning your presentation or speech topic, try putting in a similar amount of enthusiasm. This requires preparation and practice, however, in return you will receive more confidence and the ability to talk about your topic naturally. 

2. Define the benefit

This can be difficult, as we sometimes assume our audience knows just as much about our topic as we do. Nevertheless, this is a crucial point, which needs your full attention. Once you have defined which benefit or benefits your audience should have from your presentation or speech, you will be able to deliver the necessary information and arguments to help them reach their benefit. 

3. Make an outline 

After understanding your topic and defining the benefit, it’s time to write an outline. You can use one sheet of paper or Post-its and a pen or you use a mind map program. I like using MindMeister.  (If you purchase a subscription using the link, I will receive a commission). Whatever method you decide on, write your defined benefit down first. Now come up with a maximum of three points around the benefit. 

Here is a simple example:

Defined benefit: get water coolers for the employees

  1. First point: drinking enough water keeps you hydrated
  2. Second point: being hydrated helps you concentrate and perform better at work
  3. Third point: better concentration and performance at work leads to higher return on investment 

You see mapping out gives you an exact roadmap and it’ll be quite easy to remember the points. I’ve watched many students give three to four minute presentations during their oral exam using this method. Some prepared one flip chart sheet containing three bullet points. Each bullet point only consisted of one key word, which they used to help them remember their points. Some used samples of their product instead to explain the benefit. They did not memorise their content and they didn’t need cue cards.

In case you’re thinking now that all of them had a very high level of English, actually it differed, however, what they all had in common was, they were all learners of English.  

Why you shouldn’t memorise your script

As mentioned before, I believe memorising your script is a bad idea for different reasons. Here is another one to consider: it’s nearly impossible to change and adapt your content if you’ve memorised it. Imagine you only have five minutes instead of ten or vice versa. What will you do?

That just about wraps it up for today

One more thing though, Yvette and I have set up an early interest page for an upcoming programme about perfecting your presentation in English. Check out all the information about it here.

I hope you’ve found this method useful and you’ll join me again for more tips and solutions, which have helped my students face their challenges in communicating successfully in English and getting their point across.

Have a wonderful time and take care


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