Don’t read your presentation aloud onstage. It’s the surest way to tune out your audience. People look up to a speaker who can present without a deck or note cards. These kinds of speakers exude confidence and credibility, catching listeners’ attention and keeping them focused on the topic.
Memorizing your pitch is unavoidable, especially for corporate presentations where you can’t rely on a teleprompter. The key to commanding your audience’s full attention, in this case, is to get the most out of memorization.
1. Rehearse Your Speech Out Loud
It’s not enough to read your script in silence. Even running it past your eyes over and over again won’t help much. The trick is to read your lines aloud.
Studies have shown that speaking and repeating information out loud improves your memory. Hearing your lines, even in your own voice, subconsciously reinforces what you’re trying to memorize. This helps your head internalize the thoughts you want to express. To get the best results, repeat your lines five or six times. Do this enough and you might even make your performance more authentic and natural.
2. Use the 20-20-20 Rule
While internalizing is effective, it can only get you so far before your brain needs to rest. This is especially true when you read from your computer screen or tablet.
To keep your memorization attempts productive, stick with the 20-20-20 Rule. It recommends taking a break for 20 seconds every 20 minutes by looking at something 20 feet away. Doing so acts as a safeguard against eye strain, giving your brain room to rest. This improves your memorization stamina, and allows for more time to digest your information.
Use the 20-20-20 Rule to maximize the time you spend learning your speech by heart.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Most of us will fall into the trap of over-preparing for that big pitch. Tempted to spend the whole night awake with only coffee to keep you up? It’s not worth it. Lack of sleep negatively affects memory by hampering your brain’s ability to make logical connections.
Cutting sleep makes you feel like you’ve prepared enough for the big presentation opportunity, but you should always get adequate sleep to keep your mind healthy and alert. Getting enough rest can save you from staring into space when asked a difficult question.
One Last Thing
Losing your train of thought can spell disaster, especially in important corporate presentations. Don’t take any chances. Prepare well in advance so you don’t rely on cues for your pitch.
Read your script out loud to maximize your retention and internalize your script. Using the 20-20-20 Rule helps you stay productive with your memorization, and getting enough sleep helps you stay alert during your pitch. These three simple tips can help bring the best out of you during those pitches of a lifetime.
Now bring out your final ace and make that presentation count!
“How Sleep Helps Memory.” Psychology Today. Accessed September 18, 2015.
“Memory Improved By Saying Words Aloud.” PsyBlog. 2010. Accessed September 18, 2015.
Rivera, Erin. “The 20-20-20 Rule: Preventing Digital Eye Strain.” Visian ICL. Accessed September 18, 2015.