Memorize That Speech

It is inevitable that sometime during college, you are going to have to memorize a speech.

Making a speech in front of an audience can be a heart-wrenching experience.  This feeling is increased when you are getting marked off for every mistake or “um” you mumble.  A speech in front of the class can quickly become your worst enemy if you are not well prepared.  Here are some tips to help you memorize a speech and hopefully eliminate the embarrassment of forgetting what you were supposed to say.

Break it up

There is no use in trying to remember an entire speech in one sitting.  It is a lot easier to retain the information if you break the speech down into separate parts.  For example, if you have to remember a speech that is 6 paragraphs long, you should focus on one paragraph at a time.  Once you have perfected the first paragraph, you can then move on to the next, and so on.

The Build up

This goes along with the above tip.  Once you have memorized each paragraph individually, it is time to put them together.  To do this, you should recite the first paragraph and continue into the second.  Once you have these two completely memorized, you can then add in the third and so on.  Before you know it, you will have built up the whole speech.

Speak Out Loud

When you are memorizing your speech, don’t just read it silently to yourself, speak it out loud.  By doing this, you are reading the speech as well as listening to it.  This is multitasking for your brain, and it will aid in retaining the speech.

Identify Key Points

Each paragraph or section of your speech should be defined by a key point or two that you are focusing on.  This is very important, and can really save you during your speech if you forget some of it.  By identifying the key points, you can at least expand on them, and not just sit there saying um with a blank stare in your face.

Take Breaks

After you have memorized a good portion of your speech, you should take a break for a couple hours, and then come back to it.  After the break, you should go straight into reciting the part of the speech that you previously memorized.  This will test your ability to remember the speech when it is not fresh on your mind.

Record Yourself

Record yourself saying the whole speech, and listen to it over and over again. This will engrave it into your mind.  Plus, how many times have you had a song stuck in your head?  Most computers come with a mic, so download a simple recording program like Audacity and you will be ready to go. (You can even put the recording onto your ipod and bring it on the go.)

Keep Notecards

If the speech that you are preparing is very long, then it is a good idea to carry along a few notecards.  On these notecards, you should write the key points, as well as any sub-points that you have.  Try not to depend on these notecards, but they can really save you if you lose your train of thought.  The notecards are there to help you get back on track.


Memorizing a speech is never easy, but hopefully these tips will make this daunting task less difficult to handle.  If you put the time into memorizing a speech, you won’t regret it.  There is nothing like the feeling you get after conquering a speech.

What do you do to memorize speeches?


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