June 17, 2012

Learn To Memorize With Storytelling

by Promod Sharma, President 2011-2012, CC

I have trouble memorizing speeches. I checked online and the best advice is to practice and practice. There are no shortcuts. That's democratic but not enjoyable. 

Since your audience doesn't know exactly what you want to say, you can (and will) improvise when speaking. Words matter. You'll then have difficulty delivering the same speech consistently but will get through the speech.

Since speeches are short (often 5-7 minutes), I want to express myself just so. As a writer, I keep tweaking the content. How can you memorize text that keeps changing? 

There's an easy way to memorize: by telling stories. Stories are easy to remember and enjoyable to practice. They're also interesting for audiences. I know this because when I give presentations with PowerPoint, some segments are stories I've learned over time and re-use. The visuals are mental guides that keep me on track.

Formal Help
Once you're a Competent Communicator, you can work on the advanced manuals. Each has five projects. I selected Storytelling as one (and Communicating on Video as the other). After read them, I see that Storytelling gives a good foundation. I'm tackling that one first. 

The Surprise
For Storytelling, the instructions say "you should tell the story without a script or notes". 

Gulp! I always use notes or mind maps when speaking. For Storytelling, that would be "cheating". Memorizing is already a challenge but working without aids removes he safety net.

You're also told: "Ask your listeners to sit in a semicircle facing you. Don't stand behind a lectern or other obstacle". 

I normally have a barrier but will follow the guidelines.

The Pledge
To stick to the spirit of Storytelling, here's the pledge
- do all five projects in Storytelling without notes. This will take more preparation.
- make each story original or a modified interpretation. This is more challenging than re-telling someone else's story or one that you've heard a professional tell.
- record and post each story on YouTube. This takes courage.

You may want to make a similar pledge. As a bonus, I'm not planning to use PowerPoint. I might use physical props. 

Promod Sharma publishes a free monthly newsletter called Marketing Reflections. We're all in marketing.

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