How to remember what you want to say.

A frequent question I get asked is how to remember a presentation. And it is often an excuse I’m given for why someone has to have bullet points on each slide … so they can remember what they want to say.

Last month I talked about the HICCY method for creating a great pitch and I promised I’d give you a technique for remembering what you want to say this time.

The technique is called a variety of names but the one’s I have heard most often are Loci method, Memory palace or Roman room and is said to date back to the great Roman and Greek Orators.

The format may change slightly for each but the concept is that you link memorable images for what you want to say to a route you know well or around your house. (It works very well for remembering a shopping list too).

Last time I explained how I might talk about Partners With You.

  • I could start with the fact that 20% of business people will make up an excuse rather than present.
  • I would then introduce myself and how we work with the 20%.
  • Thirdly, I would give a tip such as imagining you are wearing a bolero jacket and someone pulls it from behind which will open up your chest and make you look more confident.
  • And then I’d give you a call to action (perhaps download a free tip sheet) and
  • remind you who I am again.

Next, I need to imagine a route I regularly take or a walk around a room in my house … lets pick my kitchen. If I stand in the doorway and look left, I will see a green fruit bowl, the cooker, the kettle, the sink and the microwave.

Now all I have to do is create an image for each point in my presentation to remember at each stop on my route.

The image needs to be memorable – so try images that are mad, bad, lewd or rude! For example, I could imagine 5 business people in my fruit bowl, four in fluorescent yellow suits dancing wildly while one in a dark green suit is trying to hide against the sides of the bowl.

Each time I talk I may use different words but the core point … that (according to a Prezi and Harris survey) 20% of business people will make up excuses rather than present … won’t be forgotten because I know what the first image of the man in the green suit trying not to be seen, represents!

Another advantage of the route of images is that if I get distracted, so long as I remember where I was in along the route, I can go back to where I was.

Try it with a shopping list first and see how you get on.

In the meantime, if you would like more tips, I’ve written  “21 tips to better presentations” which you can download here.

Let me know what you think … and if you would like to know when there’s a new article … do sign up to receive my bimonthly emails.