Does the thought of having to speak in public cause you to break out in sweat and your stomach start to turn? You are not alone. A survey once told that more people are afraid of making a presentation in public than they are of spiders. Fear of death actually came in second! It used to for me too, until I found a way to do it from memory, with confidence, and no need for notes. One of the greatest benefits I have received from memory training is the ability to give a speech without notes.

There are very few who can be called great orators, but there are people who can speak confidently in public and people will pay attention. Good speakers are not necessarily born that way, there a lot of behind-the-scenes practice sessions that take place in order for a person to come out and take control of the audience.


How often have you seen a speaker grip a microphone as they read directly from their notes? Were you actually paying attention? What would have happened if he dropped his notes or the wind picked them up and carried them off? He would have been lost. Reading from notes does not engage your brain, and it certainly doesn’t make use of your memory. Using the memory palace or method of loci to improve your memory you can literally memorize a speech word for word. I haven’t used a note in a speech in over TWENTY YEARS!!

There is nothing wrong with having notes with you, just in case you lose your place, but they are not for reading directly from. Eventually you can do it without taking the notes out of your pocket, or even remembering that you have them. And… NEVER MEMORIZE YOUR SPEECH WORD FOR WORD.

With preparation in advance (a few days ahead is best) and lots of practice you can do it as if you were a pro! The key is to be well-prepared, knowing your subject matter backwards and forwards. If you are not prepared, and have not practiced, no matter how many notes you have you won’t be able to pull off a good speech. So, what do you need to do?

1.      Make a plan of what you want to say. Write down everything, including your jokes, antidotes and examples, and put them into an outline.

2.      Read the paper out loud , making corrections and additions as you go. Make it interesting and not just a lot of facts. Edit it for grammer and for the allotted time.

3.      Once you think you have it down and have practiced it repeatedly in succession, write down the main “brainpoints” on a note card in the order you have written them originally. Then take these ‘brain points’ and place them on pieces of furniture in your home using the method of loci to give the speech without the use of notes!

5.      Engage your brain. Practice the speech several times a day over the next few days. Spread the practice sessions out during the day and not in succession. It will give your brain a chance to memorize and retain what you want to remember. Take careful notice of how many times during your practice you had to look at your notes. If something else to add comes to mind make sure you add it to your notes and rework your cards.

6.      Practice, practice, practice! Everywhere – in the car on the way to work, in the shower, when you’re walking the dog, etc. If you forget something half-way through that is alright, that’s what practice is for. Just remember what part gave you trouble and go back over it until you have it down.

 This is Ron White, two-time USA Memory Champion , memory training expert, and memory keynote speaker. Giving speeches without notes builds your confidence, you are able to make eye contact, and what you have to say is more credible. When you can gain confidence you will be making those speeches with ease.  As an additional aid I have a CD available on Public Speaking that can help you, as well as CDs on building your memory.




BrainAthlete – How to Give a Speech:

Word Buff – How To Memorize A Speech A Speech:

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