All successful speeches are scripted. Fact.
The most successful, however, seem like they trip off the tongue of the speaker.
It may seem weird, but the best way to make your script sound fresh is to commit it to your memory. This isn’t about knowing every word and reciting a speech like a robot; it’s about knowing the speech so well that it really is totally natural to you.
Fluency comes with familiarity every actor learns their lines and they know that the trick in making them believable is to know them so well that it sounds as if they are saying them for the first time.
When it comes to speaking, you’ll only sound spontaneous if you’ve done your preparation. Don’t think of this as memorisation, instead think of it as familiarising yourself with what you already believe. Become a performer, not a parrot!
1. Go chunky!
Split your content into sections. This technique is called Chunking, and helps you learn your speech in small passages. Don’t try to eat the whole elephant.
When you’re laying out your speech, put one idea on each page. When you transfer this to you notes, you’ll have one card per idea – and that makes it much easier to learn.
2. Trust Your Structure.
Once you know your material by chunk, you can use your structure as a safety net. Get to know your main points, follow each with a statement, and follow those with a story. You’re less likely to get lost if you stick to a clear road map.
Knowing where you’re going helps you connect the dots of your speech – you won’t panic if you don’t get lost.
3. Stay Loose.
Rehearse your speech until you know it back to front. But don’t get rigid. Leave room to react to your audience in the moment – and to think on your feet if someone asks you a question, or something occurs to you in the moment.
This little bit of room will help loosen up your performance and make it feel more “in the moment” – for your audience and for you. This technique is a great way of overcoming stage fright.
So there you have it: three ways to memorise your speech … but not sound like a robot. Think less about reciting by rote and more about being comfortable with your speech. Know it well so you can seem as comfortable as possible – your audience will reward you for it.