Memorizing Your Presentation … Or Not
Trying to memorize an entire presentation is not easy nor is it suggested. Yet many people try to do just that. Please do not.
At this time, you might be wondering how you’re supposed to deliver a presentation without memorizing it. Well, that’s exactly what you’re going to learn here.
Realize that believing you can memorize and then accurately deliver a presentation longer than a few minutes is not reasonable. For all but a few people, it’s simply not possible. So I suggest you don’t try.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t memorize certain aspects of your presentation. You should … just not the entire presentation.
For instance, your attention-grabbing opening and compelling conclusion should be well-crafted and just as well delivered. Since each of these is only one or two sentences long (occasionally three) it is not difficult to memorize them and deliver them in an impactful manner.
In fact, you should know your opening and closing as well as you know your favorite song. You should be able to deliver them while loading the dishwasher, walking up a flight of stairs, or watering the garden. You should be able to deliver them at a moment’s notice. And just like your favorite song, you need to know not only the words, but also the emotions behind them. Only then can you best represent yourself, effectively deliver your ideas, and most important, serve your audience.
When it comes to everything in between your opening and closing, your words can – and should – differ from delivery to delivery. You see, you want to be more concerned about the point you’re conveying than the exact words you’re using. If there are particular phrases you want to include, however, just be sure to include them every time you rehearse.
There’s one more thing you need to know about your opening and closing. Your mind is going to try to betray you. When we’re nervous, our brains try to find alternatives that better suit the situation. So, just before you begin your presentation, your brain is going to tell you that it has a better opening. Don’t listen to it! Go with the opening that you had determined to be the best possible opening – the one you rehearsed and can deliver in a way that will immediately grab the audience’s attention. You’ll be thankful that you did.
The same is true for your closing. Just as you’re about to say your final words – the most important part of your presentation, by the way – your brain is going to “protect” you once again and suggest that you change your closing. Ignore it! Go with what you’ve rehearsed.
By memorizing your opening and closing and knowing the concepts you want to present, you will be thoroughly prepared to serve your audience … well, at least after you’ve sufficiently rehearsed. But that’s a topic best addressed in another post.