Do you have trouble memorizing speeches?

Barbara asked 7 months ago


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I have aphantasia and cannot memorize speeches. Does anyone else experience the same?

Nicholas Throup March 07, 2020 07:58 am

Yes i need to read the text many times.

I dont remenber it phrase by phrase but I know the details and them try to rebuild a phrase.

When I want to learn something I read a lot on the subject from different authors as I cant just memorise one ( and reading it 50 times will be boaring)

Other technics ?


Colm Roe March 09, 2020 02:37 am

Hi Barbara,

I’ve been involved with Toastmasters for nearly 10 years. Most speeches are about seven minutes, and I’ve given many of them. I used to memorise them word for word and would spend (on average) 50 hours memorising them!!! The problem with that is if you ‘lose your place’, and can’t remember the last word you spoke, you panic, because you struggle to remember the next word you wrote.

As an Aphant you’ll still have to put more time into rehearsing than non-Aphants. My advice would be to write your speech, read it a few times, edit it, and when you’re happy with the general shape of it, put it away. Then do all your rehersals/preparation in your mind; if you can, do it when your mind is in neutral. Activities like driving, eating or any random moments like walking to your car.

Writing chronologically makes recall easier. Basing your speches on life experiences…stories you’ve told many times before also make them so much easier to give.



Helen Addams April 02, 2020 08:23 am

Hi Barbara

I have given many speeches during my working life, and learnt very early on that there is no point trying to memorise a speech. What I always do is write a list of things I want to cover, then make this list into a series of dot points, with minimal text, as an aide memoir. if there are some stats, data or specific names I need to remember, I make sure these are written against the dot points.

I often find that having gone through this process I don’t have to refer to the list much at all.



Zach Dobosh replied 5 months ago

To piggyback off of Helen, I have found memorizing to be counterproductive unless done to the point of exhaustion. Creating bullet points, sandwiched between a scripted intro and outro has been my strategy up until two months ago, and the results have always been satisfactory. The thing is, I have to really know the content I am speaking on, which means my time is spent learning rather than rehearsing. This was you can casually navigate a topic which helps overcome performance anxiety, as you are not trying to stick a perfect landing (remember your lines), you instead are sharing information a subject you are informed.
I did recently adapt my strategy by writing the first couple words of each key point. Then I go down the list riffing a couple sentence for each key point before moving on to the next. For the event I first tried this with, I wrote the content the night before, rehearsed verbally three times during my 5am drive the next morning (rehearsing no longer than 15 minutes), and ended up delivering the hour long workshop at 10am without any hiccups. This technique, which I’m calling speech-threading, allows you to organize your key points into runways that are easy to memorize and from which you can take off into organic dialogue. Again, you need to really know your content for this to work well.

Dorena Nagel April 13, 2020 03:39 pm

I have the same problem. I think my memory is in general pretty bad compared to others. I forget names, birthdays, have a really hard time to learn anything by heart without any logical context.

But as soon as there is any logic behind a topic or thing, I think I understand it pretty fast compared to others.

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