One of the most common reasons people fear public speaking is that they blank out and forget their entire speech. You can practice and practice and practice and when the moment comes that you need to remember your presentation, everything goes blank! There are ways that you can fool proof your message so that the parts you actually have to memorize are minimal if at all.
This means that you incorporate the use of triggers in your presentation. These triggers can be things like power point slides, props, and story telling that you’ll scatter throughout your speech. What the triggers do is prompt you to talk about the next point your trying to make. The triggers can also serve as a trigger to help you remember what to say next.
There are four primary ways to remember your presentation.
1. The first one is memorizing. This can work for presentations less than an hour, but if you’re teaching a six hour seminar course, you’re going to have to find some other way other than memorizing. This is actually one of the worst ways to remember your presentation because there are no safe guards that protect you once you forget.
2. The next way to remember your presentation is to read a full written version. People write out their speeches, but reading from the full written text can cause you to sound stiff and unnatural.
Most commonly occurring in business settings (i.e. – at board meetings or company meetings), reading your speech may be necessary. If you have to read your speech, there are things you can do to help you sound natural. Keep in mind the business tone may be necessary, but there may also be parts in your presentation that require the monotony to be broken!
3. The third way to remember your presentation is to use notes – a condensed outline form of your presentation. Have your notes on a single page sheet or on note cards. Highlight key points to make in a way that you can easily understand the emphasis that the points need. Having notes does not mean that you do not need to work with your presentation!
4. The last way to remember your presentation is to use visual aids (props) as your notes. Let your visuals and images prompt you to speak. Tell your audience a story about the image you’re showing. You can also let your visuals and images do the talking for you. You can post your outline on the screen and say that it’s because it will help your audience stay on track with you!
Work with creating mental images of the points you are trying to make. This will help you sound more natural and more “impromptu” with your audience. When you sound natural, you sound genuine.
Utilize one or more of these ways to remember your presentation. Use various ways to “trigger” your memory to say what needs to be said. Use overheads to lead you through your speech as you place keywords on the screen.