10 Ways to Internalize a Speech & Reduce Dependence on Notes

May 31, 2023

5 min read

10 Ways to Internalize a Speech & Reduce Dependence on Notes

The original list of 10 ways to internalize a speech by Diane Windingland was published on .

Public speaking can be stressful. You don’t need to add to that anxiety by trying to memorize your speech. There’s a better way. When you internalize a speech, you come across more naturally and still reduce your dependence on notes.

Here’s an important point to help reduce your stress level when public speaking:

""You do NOT need to memorize your speech word-for-word. Your audience only knows what you say. How you say it, is how they believe you meant to say it!""

We’ll share 10 methods of preparation and practice that will help you internalize a speech. Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The difference between memorizing and internalizing
  • The advantages of internalizing a speech
  • 10 ways to internalize a speech

The Difference Between Memorizing and Internalizing

Memorizing a speech is the process of committing the words of a speech to memory. When you memorize a speech, you can deliver it word-for-word without having to look at notes.

On the other hand, internalizing a speech is the process of understanding the meaning of a speech and being able to deliver it in a natural and engaging way. This requires more than simply memorizing the words of the speech. You must also understand the purpose of the speech, the audience, and the key points you want to communicate. When you internalize a speech, you can deliver it in a way that’s both informative and persuasive.

3 Advantages of Internalizing a Speech

There are several advantages to internalizing a speech rather than simply memorizing it. First, an internalized speech sounds more natural and engaging. When you’re reading from a script, you might sound stiff or robotic. An internalized speech, on the other hand, will flow more smoothly and will be more likely to hold your audience’s attention.

Second, an internalized speech is more persuasive. When you understand the meaning of your speech and can deliver it in a way that’s both informative and engaging, you’re more likely to convince your audience to see things your way.

Finally, an internalized speech is more likely to be remembered by the audience. When you simply read from a script, your audience is more likely to remember the words of the speech than the message you’re trying to convey. An internalized speech, on the other hand, is more likely to be remembered because the audience is able to connect with your message on a deeper level.

If you’re giving a speech, it is important to take the time to internalize your material. This will help you to deliver a more natural, engaging, and persuasive speech.

10 Ways to Internalize a Speech

So, don’t worry about memorizing your speech. Instead, focus on internalizing it. Here are 10 ways to internalize a speech and reduce your dependence on notes.

Method #1: Repetition

Read your speech several times out loud. Or, listen to a recording of yourself multiple times.

Method #2: Chunking

Chunk the content, and practice parts of it. Example: Introduction, Point 1, Point 2, Point 3, Conclusion. Include transition statements that occur between each chunk.

Practice With Chunking

  1. Read one chunk aloud, along with each transition statement before and/or after it.
  2. Try to recall the chunk without peeking at the written speech.
  3. Check to see how you did by reading that chunk again. (If you recorded it, watch or listen to the recording.)
  4. Repeat that chunk until you get it down.
  5. Repeat these steps with each chunk.

Method #3: Gestures

The third way to internalize a speech is to connect specific gestures to your points. Just make sure the gestures are natural. Learn more about using body movement and gestures.

Method #4: Method of Loci

This is also known as a memory journey or the mind palace technique. You can use this method in two different ways.

Take a Physical Journey

Assign parts of your speech to different physical objects on a path. As you walk the path, practice each part at its assigned object. Here’s an example. In my home, I give my introduction at my front door. Then, Point 1 is at the refrigerator. Point 2 is at the stove. Point 3 is at the sink. My conclusion is that at the dining room table.

Take an Imaginary Journey

You can create a mental or physical map that you visualize as you practice the parts of your speech. Some people imagine the face of a clock.

Method #5: Keywords

Keywords are short prompts that help you remember longer content. You can use up to three or four memory-triggered keywords per sentence of your speech. Stories you tell might need only a trigger phrase, such as “Family Christmas Party.”

Method #6: Picture & Symbol Notes

Picture and symbol notes can take longer to construct. But, they can quickly connect your brain to your content and help you internalize a speech. Learn more about using pictures and symbols as notes.

Method #7: Outline

A logically structured speech, with a main idea and all the content supporting the idea, will facilitate internalization. If you can remember the structure—the logical flow—you will facilitate your own internalization of the content.

Method #8: Stories

Stories are the easiest parts of speeches to remember. Sometimes this is because you’ve already internalized them from before.

Method #9: Visual Aids

Strategically use statistics, charts, and other visual aids to convey information that would be difficult to recall.

Method #10: Speaker Notes on Your Handout

If you’re providing your audience members with a handout, make your own copy that includes notes for you.

Download the PDF version of this list.

Wrapping Up

Public speaking can be intimidating, but the anxiety of memorizing your speech doesn’t have to be a factor. Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to naturally delivering a compelling speech.

About the Author

Diane Windingland is the owner of Virtual Speech Coach and the author of several books on communication skills. Since 2011, she’s been speaking for organizations that want to help their people have better, more profitable conversations and presentations. She also coaches subject matter experts on how to communicate with clarity and confidence, shaping what they already know into communications that engage and get results.

Diane lives with her husband in Shoreview, Minnesota. She dedicates much of her spare time as a volunteer for Toastmasters International, an organization that empowers people to be better leaders and communicators.

You can learn to be a confident speaker by taking Diane’s online course—No Fear Public Speaking: Look, Sound and Feel Confident!


Start practicing with Yoodli.

Getting better at speaking is getting easier. Record or upload a speech and let our AI Speech Coach analyze your speaking and give you feedback.

Get Yoodli for free