HUGH CULVER

Should I memorize my speech?

Updated to Business, Speaking on January 23, 2023.

When I got into speaking, people watched DVR’s and listened to CD’s and memorization was the thing.

Top speakers memorized a script and then did their thing with slides, video, maybe a little theatre-storytelling.

It never worked for me.

For one reason, I found it hard to memorize a speech, plus it put me at risk of forgetting my lines and freezing. Not good for me – definitely not good for the audience.

Instead, I use a process to design an awesome speech, summarize it and then, finally prepare the brief notes I’ll bring on stage with me (read the steps I take to prepare a speech here.)

On the other hand, I do memorize my opening and close.

When I kick off my speech I want it to be flawless and have the audience leaning in. That part is memorized.

When I close I want to present a summary and bring the audiences’ energy up – it’s important I’m relaxed and, at the same time, delivering a high-energy close. I need that part well crafted and memorized.

My friend, Michael Port says “A good speech is a conversation with the audience.” My conversations aren’t memorized – neither are my speeches.

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