The 10 Problems of Memorizing Words – Part 2

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memorizing words

In my last article, The 10 Problems of Memorizing Words – Part 1, I discussed five of the problems. Here in The 10 Problems of Memorizing Words – Part 2, I’ll explain five more problems associated with memorizing the words of speeches, presentations, or routines.

Memorizing Words – Problem 6

Even if speakers remember the words correctly, they still aren’t a very effective means of communicating. The following is the work of University of California at Los Angeles professor Dr. Albert Mehrabian, in the book (Silent Messages published by Wadsworth 1971), and it demonstrates the relative effectiveness of the three ways all humans communicate:

Body Language 55%
Vocal Tone 38
Words 7%

That’s right, words account for only 7% of our communication. We communicate 93% of our information with our body language and voice tone. So memorizing and repeating the words is amazingly ineffective in comparison to responding to experiences, which activate body language, vocal tone, and prompt us to describe what’s being recalled with words.


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Memorizing Words – Problem 7

Once the words are memorized, any change in the order will cause the speakers to go completely blank. Memorized words must be recalled in their set order. They’re set like the concrete of sidewalks, so there’s only a single path.

For instance, what letter of the alphabet comes before K?

Did you have to sing the entire song to yourself until you hit, K, then back up one, J? Or did you come in at the break, inhale, H, I, J, K, back up one, J? Memorized words work in the same way, in a set order. The talk must go from A – Z in order or the speakers get lost and go completely blank.

Memorizing Words – Problem 8

Talks memorized in words are inflexible because they’re remembered in an order and must be recalled in order. There’s no leaving the exact script to answer questions, deal with the unexpected, or add new information just learned. Forget about rearranging the information to suit the current audience. No spontaneous sharing of the speakers’ expertise because the mind must concentrate on remembering what to say next in the set to remember jokes naturally book cover

Memorizing Words – Problem 9

With the words and order set, the speakers treats every audience the same. No changes for each individual group. Not only is it boring for the audience, the speakers also get bored because they’re no longer creating and having fun. No experimenting to find the optimum presentation of the materials. The speech quickly turns into Groundhog Day. It’s the same thing over and over and over and over until the speakers hate it or start to self destruct.

Memorizing Words – Problem 10

The ultimate paradox which confuses speakers is when they hear, “memorize the lines,” and then, “act naturally.” As I’ve demonstrated throughout this article, memorizing words messes with normal memory and brain function, which negatively affect the speakers’ personality, language patterns, body language, vocal tone, emotions, but now they must “act naturally?” What are speakers supposed to do?

In my next article, I’ll give a series of solutions and an alternative to memorizing the words.

If you’ve ever memorized the words of a talk, what went wrong?

The 10 Problems of Memorizing Words – Part 1

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