When you’re preparing a speech, says marketer Seth Godin, “Don’t memorise your talk. Memorise your stories. Ten stories make a talk.”
This is actually how most stand-up comedians build their routines. They don’t write jokes so much as they re-tell them over and over. Every time, they concentrate on connecting with the audience, and they don’t let the words get in the way of the performance.
You don’t have the luxury of practicing your speech in front of live audiences night after night. But you already have, in your regular life.
When Godin asks for your 10 stories, he’s not asking you to invent 10 new ones, but to pull from stories you already tell in conversation, or write about, or otherwise share with people.
“Stories” are any mini-speeches that you find yourself giving often, to multiple people, because you care about them. This applies to workplace talks, or to the stories you tell your friends.
So choose from those stories, and practice telling them again. You don’t have to memorise the words, just the ideas. Pick which parts are interesting enough for a big group, and which you should skip in this particular delivery.
Then, when you’re onstage, you won’t need to keep a whole script in your head. All you have to remember is which familiar stories you’ve chosen to tell. You’ll be more present.
You’ll be able to connect with your audience and adapt to their reactions, the way you would in a smaller conversation. And you’ll sound like a professional speaker.
Awkward memorization | Seth’s Blog