How to Memorize a Speech in One Day


Memorizing a speech in one day requires strategies such as memorizing parts at a time, engaging all of your senses with physical movement and using mnemonic devices to remember key points. To memorize a speech in a short amount of time, consider the following strategies to help you relax and deliver your speech confidently.

Chunk It

  • You can divide your speech into parts. Depending on how long your speech is, break it up into several key ideas, and memorize each idea, one at a time. You might set a timer and spend a set amount of time on each section. For example, begin with the introduction, read and reread it, and attempt to repeat each sentence without looking for 10 minutes. Take a short break, about three to four minutes, and then go on to the next main idea for 10 minutes. Do this for each part until you have finished the conclusion. Take a longer break, about an hour or two, and then go back to each part.

Act It Out

  • While you may be standing the whole time to deliver your speech, you can choreograph hand movements to emphasis specific parts of your speech. Initially, move your whole body and walk around as you memorize. Moving your body engages all of your senses and focuses your attention fully on your task. As you begin to get a better overall remembrance of the main points, start practicing hand movements to create physical landmarks for key transitions and points of emphasis. For example, if you need to remember to transition from your introduction to your first key point, and the next paragraph begins with a phrase such as "First of all," raise your left index finger to emphasize the word "first." Do this every time you come to this transition, and the gesture will help your brain jump smoothly to that next paragraph.

Write It Out

  • Successful memorization techniques are based on connecting information to something you can replicate. When you write something, you are creating several sensory pathways that can carry the information to the brain. You are not only seeing the words, but also the movement of writing them will help physically link those words to your memory. If you also read the speech aloud as you write it, you are engaging another sense and are now sending it to your memory by way of sight, touch and sound. Writing out your speech will especially help if you are a visual learner. Your brain will remember watching you divide each paragraph into the main ideas, and if you struggle to remember any key points, you can recall watching your hand move to that section and writing that section in your own handwriting.

Create Acronyms

  • Acronyms can be used to memorize key points of your speech. The letters can form a real word or can be a unique combination to connect a specific acronym to a specific skill. For example, PEMDAS in math stands for Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition and Subtraction. Students use PEMDAS when remembering the correct order of operations, and they will always associate that particular acronym with that particular skill. You can use an acronym to remember the main ideas of your speech. Pull out the first letter of each main idea, and chain them to create a word that you can scroll through in your mind. For example, if you were giving a speech about how to stay more organized, you could remember WATCH: Write everything down, Act on your plan, set your Times and stick to them, be Consistent, and make it a Habit. Each of these main ideas would be parts of your speech, and as you finished one, you would remember your acronym to flow to the next point.

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