MEMORIZING your speech. Yay or nay?
One of the most common questions I get is: Should I memorize my talk?
My answer is usually: it depends.
If you’re a highly analytical person and thrive on rigor, then, by all means, yes, do memorize your speech (but be aware that you’ll need a lot of time and discipline - especially if you don’t want to sound like a robot on repeat).
However, memorizing might not be the best strategy if you’re a woman who:
Values AUTHENTICITY over canned performances.
Believes in CONNECTION over simply showing up hoping for the best.
Desires to SHARE HER STORY FROM THE HEART (❤️) so that she can change lives while sounding polished & professional.
Memorization will make you sound robotic. Plus, you’ll be focused on remembering the exact words versus being fully present on stage. Not the best, right?
So, if memorizing is not the best technique for you, what should you do instead? Should you just resign yourself to spur-of-the-moment inspiration?
Obviously, no. You should still practice (and a lot!), but there’s a better strategy than memorization.
I call it:
See, memorization is a highly mental activity, whereas internalization is something you do with your entire being. Real practice, practice that’s internalized, is about feeling every word you say, so that it becomes part of you, and gets to the hearts of your audience.
But how do you do it?
Here are 5 steps you’ll need to follow in order to internalize your speech.
With these 5 steps, you’ll move away from public speaking as performance, to public speaking as an embodied experience.
Write a script and choose the parts you wish to memorize word-by-word, and the parts you want to leave more open-ended. If you’re a beginner, I recommend memorizing the opening and closing of your speech, as well as the storytelling moments (because these are where you risk losing your audience the most).
Assign titles and subtitles to each section of your speech (if you follow my problem-idea-action speech-writing formula, some parts will already be named for you ;) ). Create an outline so you can remember the overall structure.
For each section, ask yourself: how does it feel in my body? Tune into all of your being and feel what wishes to be said with every cell of your body. Is it empathy, joy, sadness, rage, lust … you name it.
When you rehearse, let your body speak for you. In other words, channel the right feeling and see what it has to say. At this stage, it’s imperative that you be grounded in yourself. If not, you run the risk of dissociating - i.e leaving your body - and you won’t be able to hear what your body has to say (and here’s an awesome technique I always use to ground my energy - the YES! meditation).
*Bonus tip: while rehearsing through internalization, some people suggest doing any form of exercise or physical activity. While I’m all about being gentle with your body, I agree that moving your body can help. What about taking a walk outside? Or doing some form of stretching? Yin yoga works too if you’re into it.
So here you have ‘em. My 5 steps to internalization vs. memorization. Now that you know what to do, let me know in the comments: what was your biggest a-ha?
I’m cheering you on from here!