How do I make my speech memorable

By Gerald Pauschmann | How to

May 02
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Gerald PauschmannHi guys, I get many participants in my workshops ask, So how do I make my speech memorable. Well, what do you remember about the last speech you heard? If you’re like most people, probably not much. In this article I want to cover how to make your speeches more memorable, by using analogies and compelling stories.

How to Make a Speech Memorable

At the end of each speech I video, when I watch it back, I could list dozens of things I did right. Dozens of things that made my presentation stand-out. But what about the audience who listened to me weeks ago; what do they remember about my speech? Can they list dozens of things that I did right? (That is without reviewing my video on YouTube).

Turns out, when I asked a colleague, they could remember a few things. So, I thought it would be useful to review what they remember from my speech as a way of explaining how to make a speech memorable.

Think back to the most recent presentation you attended; think back to ANY presentation you have attended. What do you remember? Really, think about it; what do you remember? Not much, right? It’s likely that you only remember one or two (or at most three) things the speaker talked about (and that’s if they were a good speaker)!

Forgetting Is Normal

Psychologists talk about fading theory. (Psychology Today) They say the trace or mark that a memory etches into your brain is like a path you make in the woods when you continually walk along the same route. If you don’t take that same path, it eventually becomes overgrown–until it disappears.

A famous study on forgetting textbook materials compared the percentage of material remembered after different intervals of time. The results were interesting:

After 1 day 54% was remembered.

After 7 days 35% was remembered.

After 14 days 21% was remembered.

After 21 days 18% was remembered.

After 28 days 19% was remembered.

After 63 days, about two months, only 17% was remembered.

Use Analogies to Make a Speech Memorable

So what else did my colleague remember about my talk? Well they remember that I compared ‘Saving time to saving money…you have to spend it wisely’ and combining this with strong contrasting images, this made the analogy interesting and memorable.

Making a strong connection between two otherwise dissimilar ideas can help you understand and remember. Analogies are exactly that–comparisons between two things. Typically, analogies are used to explain how something known is similar to something that is not familiar. Analogies are particularly useful when you are trying to explain ideas quickly. The biggest benefit is that they make it easy to remember complex ideas. So, analogies are powerful because they’re meaningful and memorable.

End with a Key Sentence to Make a Speech Memorable

My colleague also remembered that I included quite a bit of dialogue in my speech. All good stories require dialogue. In my story, I used dialogue between how I spend money and on ridiculous items’ which also wasted my time!, and I also included internal dialogue. Internal dialog helps us to understand the speaker’s point of view, which also makes the story more memorable.

However, more importantly, I used dialogue as my final “key” sentence. All good stories end with a short sentence that summarizes the main idea of the story. Final key sentences are important because studies show that we tend to remember the last words spoken.

In my story, I used something the ‘time manager’ needed in my final key sentence. I very clearly remember the dialogue; it was “Hey buddy, the way in which you spend your time today, will prepare you to how you will spend the rest of your life’  My colleague was convinced that the uniqueness of the dialogue combined with it being the final key sentence is the reason he remembered it almost two weeks later.

Use Stories to Make a Speech Memorable

Finally, my colleague said that the story format itself made my words powerful and memorable. That’s why we as a society have used stories through history to communicate beliefs, values, and rules. Stories are how we learn from other people’s experiences. Stories are how we naturally communicate.

However, stories are even more memorable when we use vivid and unique images. They are even more memorable when we use intriguing, thought-provoking analogies and when we use a strong concluding key sentence.



About the Author

As The Presentation Coach, Gerald has over 20 remarkable years as a professional speaker, engaging audiences with humour, controversy and plenty of ideas. Gerald has spoken to a wide variety of groups, including business, medical, academic, association, professional and corporate audiences. He’s an engaging, thought provoking speaker and storyteller. Gerald is energetic and professional. He knows how to motivate the the crowd, Quality isn’t’s priceless!