For all esteemed speakers and aspiring presenters, mastering the art of delivering a compelling presentation requires not just creativity and expertise, but also the ability to remember your material. Think of your presentation like a well-crafted movie script: It's not just about the lines; it's about how they're delivered. Here's an easy step-by-step guide to make sure you not only remember your presentation but also deliver it in an unforgettable way.
Step 1: Start With An Outline
What It Is: Your outline is a skeletal framework of your presentation, encompassing key points, sub-points, and transitions.
How to Do It: List the introduction, main headings and bullet points, and closing of your talk. Make your main points the key "take-aways" for your audience. Customize your presentation for each audiences.
Pro Tip: Refer back to this outline frequently while preparing and practicing.
Example: Think of the outline as your storyboard in a movie production.
Step 2: Create Mnemonic Devices
What It Is: Mnemonics are memory aids that help you recall complex information.
How to Do It: Create a memorable word or phrase using the first letters of each main point in your outline.
Example: The way I remember the 5 Keys in my Action Taker's Playbook, "5 Proven Keys to Be a Fearless & Compelling Speaker," is be using the mnemonic device, AACCE. If your main points are Innovation, Trust, and Engagement, your mnemonic could be "ITE" or "TIE."
Step 3: Chunk the Information
What It Is: Break down your outline into smaller, digestible segments.
How to Do It: Group related bullet points under each main heading. Each main point should be a "take-away" for you audience.
Example: Think of each chunk as a scene in a movie, which when combined, create the full story.
Step 4: Use Visual Aids
What It Is: These can be slides with images, props (e.g., a book or other item), or visual cues (e.g., colors on your outline or a bracelet you're wearing) to supplement your talk.
How to Do It: Align your visual aids with your outline's key points and sub-points.
Example: It's like the props in a movie that help set the scene and guide the story but you are using them to help you remember your points.
Step 5: Create a Narrative (Storytelling)
What It Is: A cohesive story that either ties your main points together.
How to Do It: Integrate your outline's key points into a relatable and compelling story or use anecdotes to drive points home.
Example: Imagine your presentation as a mini-series, where each main point is an episode contributing to the overarching narrative.
Step 6: First Rehearsal
What It Is: Your first full run-through.
How to Do It: Use your outline, mnemonic devices, visual aids, and storytelling as guides.
Example: Consider this your table read where you get to hear how everything sounds together for the first time.
Step 7: Intentional Pauses and Breaks to Relax
What It Is: Pause to mentally review or take a physical break.
How to Do It: After a full run-through, take a short break or daydream for a moment to let your brain relax and consolidate memory.
Example: Just like after an intense scene rehearsal, the actors take a 5 to 10 minute break.
Step 8: Subsequent Rehearsals
What It Is: Additional practices to refine your delivery.
How to Do It: Aim for at least 2 more full rehearsals.
Example: Think of this as the multiple takes in a movie to get the scene just right.
Step 9: The Power of Sleep
What It Is: Use rest to consolidate your memory.
How to Do It: Review your presentation before bed and sleep on it.
Example: Consider this the editing process in filmmaking, where your brain refines what you've learned.
Step 10: Final Review
What It Is: Last-minute recap.
How to Do It: Skim through your outline, mnemonics, visual aids, and storytelling the day before your presentation.
Example: Think of this as your final touch-up in the makeup chair before stepping onto the set.
Additional Tips Based on Science
Pondering your memory capabilities can increase your retention by up to 50%, according to the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology.
A study in Psychological Science indicates that review-sleep-review can increase long-term retention by 50%.
Remembering your presentation doesn't have to be a daunting task. With the right preparation steps, it becomes a structured, fun, and creative process, just like creating a great movie or TV show.
We've explored a range of techniques to help you master the art of remembering your presentation, from the power of mnemonics to the science-backed benefits of rehearsal and rest. But now, it's your turn to take center stage. Have you tried any of these methods, or do you have your own trusted techniques for nailing your presentations? Your insights could be the missing piece for someone else striving for oratory excellence. So, go ahead—share your experiences and tips in the comments below. Let's make the stage a place where we all shine brighter together.