Don’t Worry, You Can Stop Memorizing Now

Don’t Worry, You Can Stop Memorizing Now

You’d think memorizing your speech would be the thing to do.

I mean, you don’t want to stand up in front of twenty-three or two-hundred or ten-thousand people reading your presentation notes. We all know that’s not the right idea.

So memorizing is the only other option. Right?


Why memorizing your speech isn't the thing to do Click To Tweet

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Speech coach Patricia Fripp pulled some quotes from Rob Biesenbach’s new book 11 Deadly Presentation Sins to highlight why not to memorize your speech.

And what to do instead.

A couple of the quotes:

  • “If you try to memorize your presentation word for word, you will come across as stilted.”
  • “And you’re more likely to get tripped up as you grasp for the precise phrasing you’ve scripted.”
  • “Internalize, don’t memorize.”

Lisa B. Marshall of Quick and Dirty Tips agrees.

In her piece Read, Memorize, or Use Notes?, Marshall reviews the three main options for public speaking delivery: reading (not really an option, unless word for word is a must), memorizing (nope, still not something to consider), or using notes (ding, ding, ding).

Wait, wait, wait . . . how can you use notes without just reading them?

Practice. Practice. Practice.

One more time. All together: practice.

How can you use notes without just reading them? The answer is simple: practice. Click To Tweet

As you practice running through your speech, you’ll internalize the material and be able to present everything in a conversational tone. Having all your points in your head will help you keep your eyes off your notes or slides and on your audience, which is critical for connection.

And if you have to refer to your notes to get back on track, do it. Check your slide or your 3X5 card. Then get right back into conversing and sharing, conversing and sharing.

You’ll rock your public speaking gig because you’ve put in the work and practiced.

For more tips on presentation skills, check out 3 Reasons Why Teachers Love PechaKucha.


Biesenbach. “11 Deadly Presentation Sins.” Fripp.
Marshall. “Read, Memorize, or Use Notes?” Quick and Dirty Tips.