Total Recall: How to Remember Your Speech Without Memorizing

We all fear that moment. You look out on a sea of faces and your mind goes blank. You can't remember your next point and you wish you could disappear with your memory.

You can avoid blanking out when you know how to maximize your mind.

These tips will help you achieve total recall of your talk:

1. Rehearse out loud. You'll remember more when you hear your own voice. Tape it and play it back. Listen to it in the car or as you fall asleep.

2. Practice the 3x5, 3x5 Rule. Avoid one lengthy rehearsal. Instead, take short chunks and practice them 3 to 5 times a day for 3 to 5 days. Frequency of repetition aids memory.

3. Create key words and phrases. The idea is to memorize concepts-not words. The more verbiage, the more difficult to remember. Bullet points allow you to talk about your points and not read your slides.

4. Exaggerate the visual. For each concept or bullet, take the key word and turn it upside down, enlarge it, color code it, change the font. Exaggeration makes the concept more memorable and aids retention. (Of course, this is done during rehearsal and not for the eyes of the audience.)

5. Use pictures. The mind thinks in pictures-not in words. Use icons, graphics, and symbols as prompts and you'll be amazed at how easily you remember your content.

6. Tell your story. People learn better and retain more when you tell stories. A situation that you experienced has a natural sequence to help you recall events. Stories don't have to be touchy feely. Reveal an interesting experience as a case study or tell a before and after success scenario.

7. Engage other senses. This is called synesthesia.. Your recall increases as you intensity your experience. For example, if you're talking about a financial downturn in the market, imagine hearing a warning siren or feel what it's like to be in a torrential downpour.

8. Associate. Take your concepts and create an acronym. To recall the process of managing question and answer periods I use the word CRAM-concentrate, repeat, answer, move on. Comedians use this technique. They assign each story or "bit" with a key word. They take the first letter of the key word from each story and form an acronym. This keeps them on track and they can easily access the segments in correct sequence for a one hour monologue without notes!

9. Make complex data concrete. Use analogies and demonstrations to make the data come alive.Tthe audience will understand it better and you will recall it more easily.

10. Get physical. By acting out parts of the presentation you maximize your memory. Walk to one side of the room. when you are talking about past history. Then move the opposite side when you're making future projections. You'll trigger your memory when you physically change your position. And the audience will be anchored to hear your message.

11. Recover with grace. If you do forget, pause and give yourself time to remember. Or use humor. But have a fall back exercise. Ask the audience to repeat your last three points. Put them in pairs and have them talk to their partner for one minute about an important point. This give you time to recall and recover.

When it comes to remembering your speech, you can blank out and say Hasta La Vista, Baby, or like Arnold Scwartzenegger, you can achieve Total Recall.

Copyright Diane DiResta 2005. All rights reserved.

Diane DiResta, President of DiResta Communications, Inc. is an International speaker, training coach, and author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz. To subscribe to Impact Player, a free online newsletter visit http://www.diresta.com

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