April 6

How To Deliver A Speech Without Memorizing


One of the hardest things to do is memorize speeches.

You might be able to relate to this…

What a lot of untrained speakers do is they write out their entire speech. Then attempt to memorize and deliver it word-for-word.

While this can help to some extent, it can also be detrimental for 2 reasons:

  1. As soon as you forget one word in the sequence, you’ve lost the rest of the speech
  2. You need time to memorize a speech – you’re super busy growing your business. And what if you get asked to speak last minute?

So then what do you do?

Don’t Memorize

I’m a huge opponent of memorizing speeches.

And there’s 2 main reasons why:

1. You Don’t Have Time

Because as an entrepreneur and business owner, you simply don’t have the time needed to memorize speeches.

If you’re preparing for a TEDx talk, that’s a different situation.

When I work with TEDx speakers, they dedicate 200+ hours just for that that one, 18-minute talk.

They have the time to put into memorizing it.

But as an entrepreneur, you likely don’t have that luxury.

2. It’s Counter-Productive

When we memorize, it’s not only counter-productive because of the time it takes up.

It also takes away from your mental capacity.

When you memorize, especially when it’s last-minute, you get so caught up in your head and stressed out that you struggle to effectively engage and connect with your audience.

Don’t Wing It

Now you might think “Lucas if I’m not memorizing a speech, then does that mean I should just wing it and go?


You don’t want to wing it either.

Winging it is just as counter-productive as memorizing, because you don’t know where you’re going.

You don’t have an outcome in mind.

And as a result, you’re going to meander all over the place. You’re going to get lost. And you won’t be able to deliver the key messages you want.

So you shouldn’t memorize. And you shouldn’t wing it – what’s the solution then?

Use Key Points

Instead of writing out your speech word-for-word and trying to memorize it all, keep a list of key points.

Think about what the key messages are in your speech that you want to get across.

One of the reasons why I like this so much is because:

  • it gives you an organized structure to ensure that you hit your key points
  • but it also gives you the flexibility to expand on those points naturally

I’ll give you an example.

Let’s say you’re a realtor. And you’re getting up on stage to share what’s happening in the market.

You don’t need to script it out word-for-word because you know what’s going on in the market.

So all you need to do is remember your key points, then expand on those key points.

Just by doing that, you’ll find yourself EASILY speaking for 5-10 minutes about current market situations.

Develop Self-Trust

In my public speaking trainings, one of the biggest obstacles that come up with my clients is lack of self-trust.

And you might relate to this too.

Essentially, people’s inner perfectionist alarm bells start going off, and they tell me “Lucas, I want to have everything right. I want to have it memorized. I want it to be perfect.

While that’s a noble goal to have, it’s never going to happen.

No matter how much you prepare.

Because it’ll never be perfect. And because the underlying root cause of this need for perfectionism is actually what holds you back from delivering their speech at their best.

Lack of self-trust.

So instead of trying to be perfect, learn to trust your own inner wisdom. Learn to trust your own knowledge.

You’ve spent years building your business and building up your expertise.

You know your stuff.

And you deserve to be on stage.

All you need to do is shift things around, so you can get out there and share your message with unwavering conviction.

How To Develop Self-trust

A big part of learning to trust yourself is being able to say to yourself “Look. I know what I know. I know the information. And I know what I’m talking about.

Here’s the thing – you already have that ability.

After all, you know your stuff.

But what many entrepreneurs do is they speak too fast while on stage.

They try to cram as much information as they can in a short amount of time to demonstrate their thought leadership.

(This happens especially if they’ve written a speech down and tried to memorize it.)

And as a consequence, they turn off their crowd. And as a result of that, they lose self-trust.

So the first step to regaining self-trust is to slow down to give yourself space to think about what to say next while you’re on stage.

But that’s not it. It’s not just about slowing down.

It’s also about embracing the silence you create as a result of slowing down, and sitting with it.

Because by doing so, you allow yourself to be present with your audience.

And that, in turn, allows you to engage and connect with them more effectively.

Tap Into Technology (If You Have Some Time!)

If you happen to be presenting with your laptop using Microsoft PowerPoint, you’re in luck.

In Powerpoint, there’s a setting called Presenter Mode.

It looks something like this:

PowerPoint Presenters Mode

I LOVE presenter mode.

When I’m speaking I often have my laptop to the side, because what it does is it shows you your current slide.

It also has an option of putting your notes underneath it, but more importantly, it has the next slide so you can mentally prepare for what’s coming up.

One of the worst things is when presenters go into full-screen mode using PowerPoint.

Maybe you’ve seen this.

They’re in the middle of delivering their presentation. They click the next slide, and they look surprised.

Basically, what’s happened is they weren’t expecting that slide to come up – maybe they forgot they put it in there, or maybe they forgot to take it out.

Either way, it caught them off guard.

Plan Your Transitions

So if you have just a little bit of time to prepare, I recommend planning your slide transitions.

Plan your slide sequence.

When you have your transitions in the right order, you can create a story.

It makes your presentation so much more smooth and polished.

Especially when you can see what’s coming up next in Presenter Mode.

Print Out Your Slides

Another thing you can do is print out your slides.

There’s a section in PowerPoint called handouts, and you can go up to nine slides per page.

PowerPoint Handouts

I really like this, because I’ll do my slide deck, print it out, and I can have that near me for reference when I need it.

You can see a layout of your presentation and gauge your timing as you present.

For example, if I’m halfway through presenting and I see that I still have 15 out of 20 slides total to get through, I’ll know that I’m falling behind.

I’ll know that I need to jump on the horse, crack the whip and start moving forward faster.

On the other hand, if I still had 5 out of 20 slides total left to go through, and I’m only halfway through presenting, then I know I can slow down, take my time and expand on my key points further.

You Don’t Need To Memorize Everything

Remember, you don’t need it all scripted and written out, because that’s counterproductive to building rapport with your audience.

Instead, have main points that you want to talk about.

Go off those main points and trust yourself to share that message, knowing that you know your stuff, you don’t have anything to prove, and you’re simply here to help the audience.

Now if you want the fast track to become the most confident speaker you can be, we have a training program that is designed to accelerate your confidence.

It’s called Speak With Confidence, and how you can access it is by visiting levelupliving.com/apply.

In the program, we do small group intensive trainings.

It’ll bring you face to face with yourself, and build you up in a way that you don’t even know is possible.

It’s a very comprehensive program that builds you up to be the most confident version of yourself, so you can share your message in a bigger way.

If that’s something you’re interested in learning more about, visit levelupliving.com/apply, fill out the application, book your time and you’ll get on a call with either myself or one of my team members.

Lucas Mattiello
Level Up Living


Memorizing Speeches, PowerPoint, self trust

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  1. Makes sense. I did that when I went on stage at YukYuk’s. I wrote a list of words on a piece of tape on my water bottle to cue each joke. I actually ended up not needing it at all. The Gin definitely helped though.

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