Posted by: George E Burney | March 9, 2012

Public Speaking: Worried About Forgetting Your Presentation?

You can easily eliminate this worry. Here’s how. Don’t try to memorize an oral presentation.

Usually, nothing is gained by attempting to give a speech from memory. Memorizing a presentation doesn’t indicate that you are more prepared; instead, it simply means that you have no notes to fall back on if your memory fails you. Even if a person has a photographic memory, something can happen to cause him to forget. A loud noise, for example, can break his concentration.

Instead, use an outline. Use it when practicing, and use it when presenting. When practicing, glance at your outline, see the next point you want to discuss, and do so. Then, as you’re finishing that idea, glance again at your outline for the next point, and speak about that. Over time, you’ll learn to recall the complete thought you want to express about each point. In this way, you’ll learn your material thoroughly, while also becoming proficient in using your outline.

When giving your presentation, the outline should be used just as you used it when practicing. Practice makes perfect, as they say.

Well, how does this differ from memorizing the entire presentation? The outline is used to help you to recall the next idea. The problem with memorizing the entire presentation is that if you even momentarily forget the next idea, you’ve got a problem!

Where do you go from there, with all eyes on you? If you ad lib, you may introduce a point which logically should come much later in your speech, but once stated, you can’t take it back! Then, you’ll need to rearrange your speech as you’re giving it. Let me know how that turns out.

On the other hand, the outline is used simply to help you to recall your next point. Once you’re reminded of that by a brief glance at your outline, you’re off and running again! So, you now have one less thing to worry about. By using an outline, you never have to worry about forgetting your presentation!

Copyright © 2012 by George Burney and betterpublicspeaking


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