As a Corporate Communication & Speech Specialist, a question I’m frequently asked by clients is “Should I memorize my presentation or speech?” Since you asked…the short answer is “No.” Let’s explore that more fully.
This may be a question you’ve pondered or maybe you thought this was what was expected of you. If you’re a keynote speaker and sharing a personal experience or story, that information is already in your brain because you lived it. You’ve also told this same story over and over. This would be a scenario where memorization occurs naturally and is acceptable.
Now let’s consider the more typical situation where you’re delivering a presentation, speech or conducting a training. This gets more complicated and I’m of the firm belief that memorizing your content is quite risky. Here’s why:
1. You tend to feel like you’re a slave to the words, which is very constricting.
2. Any distraction or unexpected event can completely throw you off (e.g. door slamming, someone sneezing, rumble of thunder, alarm going off, overhead announcement on public address system, dishes dropping…)
3. You’re forced to stay inside your own head vs. relating to your listeners.
4. Your movements are restricted for fear of losing your focus.
5. Your ability to think on your feet and exhibit spontaneity is greatly reduced.
And this list is just for starters but you get the idea. Once you commit to memorizing, your focus is inward (yourself) vs. outward (your audience) where it needs to be.(Feel free to contact me for an alternative option that works very well.)
The only viable place for memorization, which I practice and coach my clients to do is at the very outset (opening) and at the conclusion (closing). These are typically very short segments and are also critical times to establish eye-connection with those who are listening to you.
If your intention is to be memorable, I recommend avoiding memorization.