Memorizing is absolutely the worst way to keep track of your material.

People who memorize almost always are preoccupied with the words they're saying—not with the ideas behind those words (or with the audience). As a result, normal inflection disappears. And, worse, those terrible blank moments become almost inevitable.

I used to memorize the first few sentences of my introduction, just so I'd get off to a good start. But I found that I almost always fumbled those lines. Now when I speak, I'm very familiar with what I want to say, but I'm familiar with the ideas rather than with the exact words. When I rehearse, I use similar words to express my ideas, but I don't use exactly the same words each time.

Even top professional actors can have trouble with memorized speeches. Just watch the Academy Awards. I suggest you avoid memorizing.

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