The Quick Report

How to Memorize a Speech for Any Event

The best speeches feel like a friendly conversation. They allow the audience to comfortably engage with the speaker. The trick to making a speech flow freely is memorizing key information. We’ll show you how in 7 easy steps.

7 Easy Steps to Memorizing a Speech

The best speakers have a way of holding an audience spellbound, no matter the topic. You might think this is something only great orators can do. But it’s not because they have a natural gift — though some do.

The secret is what these orators do. The trick is simple once you know it. The not-so-magic formula is memorizing key information.

Knowing the main points of your topic allows you to let your speech flow naturally and smoothly. Because you aren’t struggling to find your words, you will sound more authoritative.

Audiences tend to give more trust to someone who speaks like an expert and authority. Gain your audience’s trust, and they’re going to be more engaged.

Now that we’ve covered what you need to do, let’s look at 7 simple steps to get there.

1. Create a Mind Map

A “mind map” is a way to begin organizing your thoughts through a hierarchy of ideas. It can be done with a pen/pencil and paper, and there is software to help you do so as well.

For now, let’s just look at the basic concept. Write your most important word (or keyword) in the center of the page. For example, if your talk was going to be about “boats,” you would write that.


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Next, write other related terms above, below, or to the side of the keyboard. For example, a few related terms to boats could be water, ocean, lake, dock, island, captain, fishing, lifejacket, seasickness, etc.

Then draw lines from your keyword that connect to these other words. These other words are categories of their own, and you should write related words under them. For example, under fishing you might write: Fishing poles, tackle, bait, etc.

The main point here is to expand your mind and explore all the possibilities that are connected to your chosen topic.

You can check out and for more examples of mind maps and how to make them.

2. Write an Outline

This is the planning stage where you narrow down related topics into key points you want to cover.

Begin by deciding primary goal of your speech. Every subtopic should point back to your main goal. Consider the subtopics you are going to discuss. Decide how to present them in the most logical or comprehensible order.

For example, if your topic is electric vehicles, your outline might look like this:

  1. Why purchase an electric vehicle?
    A. Reduce greenhouse gases, and help the environment.
    B. Lower your fuel costs.
  2. The state of electric vehicles
    A. Electric vehicles currently available
    B. Electric vehicles in the foreseeable future

3. Write a Script

Using your outline as a guide, develop a script that will contain the main content of what you are going to say.

Before writing your script, decide if you will be giving a speech that allows space to interact with the audience or not. If not, then you will write your script with the assumption you will be speaking with no pauses or breaks.

If your speech will include breaks, write those as part of your script. Then, you will eventually memorize your speech and these breakpoints.

4. Read the Speech Aloud and Record Yourself

The point of this exercise is to check how you might sound when giving your speech to an audience. You’ll need to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and try to hear your speech from their perspective.

Recording yourself and listening back will help you spot things that you might not notice when reading it on paper.

For example, there may be an awkward choice of words. It looks good on paper but doesn’t come across when spoken. This can help you spot things that should be rewritten for flow.

Additionally, this can also help you identify things that the audience may have difficulty comprehending. You may need to reword something to simplify it. This will also help you spot something that may have been left out that you need to add for further clarification.

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5. The “Memory Tree” Method of Memorization

Breaking the main topics of your speech into separate branches is called the “memory tree” method of memorization.

Like a tree, your main idea is the “trunk.” Your subtopics are separate “branches.” Smaller details or facts within those branches are the “leaves.”

If you write an effective outline, this can serve as your branches and leaves. The method here is to memorize and practice each branch on its own, rather than trying to memorize the entire speech from start to finish.

6. Practice Your Speech

Using the “memory tree” method as previously discussed, practice your speech continuously.

You also want to practice your speech by not reading your script. At first, you can just work on individual branches of the memory tree. Use flashcards that have keywords or a section title to see if those will trigger your memory for the entire branch.

Next, begin testing yourself without any written aids.

One way to do this is to have someone help you. Your helper can follow along by looking at your script as you talk to see if you are getting the key points correct.

If you do not have someone to help you, you can record yourself giving the speech. Then, you can listen to your speech and check it against the script for errors.

Memorization through repetition will eventually allow you to deliver your speech in a way that flows naturally and conversationally.

7. Stress-Reducing Techniques

Public speaking makes a lot of people anxious or nervous. But even though you may feel that way on the inside, you don’t want those feelings to come out in your delivery.

When doing practice recordings, listen to your final speech for any hint of anxiety or stress. If you sound calm and confident, good work. However, there is no guarantee you’ll feel the same when you’re actually standing before an audience.

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Therefore, there are some techniques you might want to learn and practice beforehand in case anxiety strikes. Take deep, slow breaths anywhere in your speech that space allows. It’s okay to stop for a short break between the “branches” of each section of your speech.

Any time you find yourself feeling anxious, remember to consciously slow your breathing. You may want to slow your speech speed as well.