Memorization in public speeches is not a highly recommended practice. Even though memorizing your speech word-for-word will help you deliver a well-written speech, the speaker will oftentimes end up giving a disastrous speech. A packaged speech will often yield the following situation:
- The speaker will never sound natural – instead of making eye contacts and emphasizing on some points with gestures and body movements, the speaker will just focus on the delivering the speech. The speaker will just concentrate on remembering what was written. This means the speaker will lose focus on the audience.
- The speaker might get lost – this is the worst case scenario. A speaker who tries to memorize the speech in verbatim could end up getting lost in the middle of the speech. The speaker who will use a written speech could actually deliver without research. But the speaker could easily get lost in the middle of the speech since the speaker might not be thinking about the real information since he or she is just there to deliver the message.
These scenarios will most likely happen if the speaker only memorizes the speech without any real knowledge of the topic discussed. It doesn’t even matter if the speech is well written. If the speaker is not familiar with the subject, delivery of the memorized will sound mechanical.
The Value of Memorization
Even though memorization could be a bad practice in public speeches, discarding memorization entirely should not be encouraged. There are certain situations wherein an exact quote should be used by public speakers to effectively communicate with the audience.
The opening spiel or the first few sentences of the speech could be memorized by the public speaker especially for inexperienced public speakers. A packed greeting or opening statements should get the speaker get the attention of the audience. Of course, experienced speakers can also use packed opening statements so that the audience could respond positively to the speaker immediately.
The main reason why memorization can be implemented in opening statements is that the speaker only has the opening statement to gain the interest of the audience. If the speaker does not deliver well on the first few sentences of the speeches, the speaker will have a hard time regaining their attention.
Some try to justify their lack of enthusiasm in the opening speech because they need a few minutes to warm up the audience. But the audience does not need time to warm up to the speaker – they are expecting an impressive presentation from the start.
No Hollow Memorization
Memorizing your opening statements doesn’t exclude you in researching on what you are about to say to your audience. In fact, it’s even more important to research if you opt to memorize your opening statements. You need to know more about what you are about to say so that you can support your statement in case someone asks you about your opening statement or you simply forgot your memorized opening spiel.
Using Quotes in Speeches
Aside from memorizing your opening spiel, important quotes that you will be using in your speech should also be memorized. You can quote a book, a movie, a play or any source during your speech as this could help you clarify your point. Writing the quotes and reading the text later is not actually a bad practice but you can impress your audience by memorizing the important quotes that you will use in your speech.
No Memorization in Closing Statements
Opening statements can be memorized to easily connect with the audience but closing statements should be spontaneous. Canned closing statements can’t be easily delivered since the speaker doesn’t know the outcome of the opening and body of the speech. Even though the speaker already has an outline for the speech, some of the ideas to be conveyed in the closing statements should be based on audience reaction and not on content. By keeping your closing statements based on your audience reaction, you ensure that your closing statements and your speech will be remembered by your audience for a very long time.
Memorization in public speaking should be limited to opening statements and quotes to reinforce some ideas. You will still sound spontaneous and effective if you limit your memorization on some aspects of your speech,