April 20 2022 – Edinburgh School of English
Going blank when giving a presentation is one of our greatest fears so many people use slides to prompt them, but ideally you shouldn’t rely on your PowerPoint presentation. Use these techniques to effectively memorise your points and give an engaging, natural talk.
- Map your talk – rather than just listing points in your notes try making a mind map with the information. This should help you to internalise your message rather than just trying to memorise a script. When you have such a strong connection with what you want to say you don’t need to worry about forgetting the exact words.
- Visualize your points – as you prepare, attach each key point to a visual object, place or key ‘trigger’ word to help you remember the order in which you want to talk about things. This technique will help you remember the logic of the presentation somewhat like a journey and avoid the likelihood of going blank.
- Speak out loud – practise your talk by rehearsing out loud to maximise the memorising potential. Research has indicated that when we voice our ideas our loud we are more likely to remember them.
- Listen – as you rehearse your talk record yourself and listen back as another way of memorising, particularly if you’re someone who absorbs information well through audio.
- Repeat – repetition is a key theme for memorisation. Focus on one part of the talk until you have really internalised it before moving to the next point. Research suggests we need to repeat information several times within a 30 minute period in order to successfully remember it.
- Get enough sleep – neuroscience tells us that the information transfer from short to long-term memory happens while we sleep so in order to fully internalize your points you’ll need to get enough sleep.
- Relax – science also tells us that we can’t learn or remember when we’re in the grip of fear. Learn to control your anxiety by using mindfulness or meditation techniques so you can prepare effectively as well as deliver your talk without freezing up.
Some have a talent for public speaking but most people develop it through training and practice, so use these tips as a starting point for teaching yourself to be a great presenter.