What You See Is What You Get
When you close your eyes and think of a car, you see it. If you think of the number 1, you see that figure. Now think of a meme or headline or billboard; chances are you can see those too. Not much is different when committing something to memory. Unless you have a visual impairment, almost 100% of the time you will start to commit things to memory using something that you can see.
While you’re reading over your project, separate it into smaller chunks and focus on them, read them, possibly even read it one… word…. at….. a……. time. A trick I’ve used before is to actually read it backwards slowly. This whole process will help the visual part of your brain see each word, the position it has on the page and the surrounding words. When learning this way, you can close your eye or look at a blank wall, etc. and be able to recall the words you were reading.
How many times do you turn on the radio and find yourself singing along to that catchy tune? What about those nursery rhymes you remember from your childhood? I bet you’re actually humming a favourite right now. Well, you probably didn’t realize it when it was happening that when you listened to that tune many, many times, you were actually committing it to memory.
You are now thinking to yourself, “My speech is written down…how am I going to listen to it?!?”. I’ll tell you there are many ways to hear your speech and the most important aspect while memorizing is the repeated short phrases, so saying it to yourself is key. You can record yourself, you can have your computer say it back to you these days, but my favourite, most effective method for me is to say it out-loud. I’ve even been heard sitting in the bathroom repeating it, because as we all know the acoustics of the bathroom are the best out there.
What’s That Smell?
Go outside and smell the flowers. Wander around the neighbourhood and smell the BBQs cooking up a nice juicy steak. You recognize those smells, you may even bring to mind a particular flower, or even see that steak sizzling. You may not be able to recall a particular smell with as much detail as something you’ve seen or heard, but when a smell reaches your nose it can certainly add to the recall when incorporated with other senses.
Taking this into account, there are number of ways to put your sense of smell to work for you, but I would recommend you don’t use anything that won’t be present when you are making your presentation. If you will be doing your speech at work, or at your community organization, or wherever, make sure you have used the same shampoo, or fabric softener, or fragrance used when memorizing your project.