Have you seen those giant flat screen TVs that they are selling these days down at Best Buy? They are HUGE! In fact, they are so large and so bright that you’d almost have to go next door in order to properly watch them if you bought one. Of course buying one is still an issue – you’re looking at $2,000 – $4,000 for the just the TV and then twice as much for installation, surround sound, Blue-Ray DVD, etc. So what does all of this home theater talk have to do with how we communicate? Plenty – it turns out that you already have one of these giant TVs in your head and it’s just sitting there waiting to be turned on in order to help you next time you have a presentation to give.
We’ve talked about how dangerous it can be to show up to give a presentation with a big stack of notes. However, we really never discussed what else you could do to make sure that you were able to deliver your presentation in the proper order and not leave out any of the important information. In order to answer this question, I need you to come with me back about 2,500 years ago or so to ancient Greece. Back in these days presentations were given without the benefit of PowerPoint and in fact, there wasn’t really any good way to create a bunch of notes. Orators gave hour long (or longer) speeches and had to get each and every word right every time they gave the same speech. How the heck did they do that?
The answer can be found in one word: memorization. Now I’m just a bit cautious using this word because it’s too easy to take it the wrong way. We’ve all probably seen speakers who have written out speeches word-for-word, practiced them over and over, and then tried to deliver them without using any notes. Whereas this is quite the impressive feat, the results are almost always less than spectacular – they struggle so hard to recall the next word that we end up feeling worn out for them by the time that they are done presenting. The fancy name for the wrong way to memorize things is rote learning.
How about if we use a different way of memorizing your speech? The way that I’m going to present to you will allow you to use that big 150″ HDTV in your head and just sit back and watch your speech play out for you in full surround sound as you simply tell your audience what you are seeing. What could be easier? This approach is called the loci method. But you’ll have to wait until next time when we’ll talk about this in great detail…
Have you ever had to sit through a presentation where the presenter had clearly memorized a speech that he/she had written out word-for-word? How was it – smooth as silk or as rough as a country road? Have you ever tried to memorize a speech that you had written out completely? Were you able to do it? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.