Its debatable…Speak Up!

November 19, 2007

Request for help…memorization

This is a post requesting information rather than giving it.  I have a student this semester who has some speaking talent, but has a really, really tough time memorizing his speeches.  I am wondering what strategies all of you experts out there can offer on this skill.  I never had a problem memorizing speeches, so I never really used a “strategy” – reading it over for the 1000 times that I had to made it stick for me.  But, with him, it just doesn’t stick.  So, any suggestions in the comments section would be MUCH appreciated!



  1. Two ideas:

    I have always found it helpful to ask student to compartmentalize their speech, and set reasonable goals. Split the speech into 10-20 sections, and memorize them separately. This not only gets over the mental block of memorizing 8-9 minutes of speech all at once, but if they completely forget, they can usually just start again at the beginning of the next section. This works with notecards, and each card can be approached as a separate speech. This works well for the visual learners.

    I also know some competitors who prefer to record the speech into an mp3 file and put it on their Ipod, etc. That seems to work well for the audio learners.

    I have found as a coach that many people will use their cards as a crutch long after they actually need them. I give my speakers two weeks to be on cards, and they have to give the speech without cards. If they stand in my office looking at the floor trying to remember a line, I let them stand there. Better to work it out there then to do the same thing at a tournament.

    Anyway, that’s my $.02

    – Mike Marse

    Comment by Mike Marse — November 19, 2007 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Mike! Two good suggestions. I especially like the Ipod idea. On the first, I do remember an assistant of mine at Pepperdine having the students highlight parts of their speech in different colors (7 or 8 if I remember correctly) and memorizing each color. I think the theory behind that was also visual. But, the mp3 is a great idea, especially for those who seem to remember songs quite easily!

    Comment by Sue — November 20, 2007 @ 10:35 am | Reply

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