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Magnetic Memory Method – How to Memorize With A Memory Palace

How to Memorize a Speech Fast: 5 Proven Tips for Memorizing Speeches

Anthony Metivier | March 5, 2024 | Memory

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how to memorize a speech feature image of Anthony Metivier delivering a TEDx Talk in Melbourne Australia

Now tell me, how do you feel? Are your hands sweaty or your knees shaky? Is your stomach tied up in knots and feeling a bit queasy?

If you’re anything like me during my undergraduate years, maybe you even have a phobia of public speaking.

Yes, it’s true.

I might be a TEDx speaker now who gives presentations from memory around the world, but I once had a terrible aversion to giving speeches.

But now I use memory techniques and on this page I’ll share with you my best tips.

You’ll discover not only how I memorized my TEDx Talk word-for-word, but also an example from another successful speaker who I taught these techniques to over an hour. His talk did not get as many views as mine, but still did really well!

Since being able to give speeches is a highly marketable skill that also lets you express your personality, it only makes sense to learn how to do it right. Without sounding like a robot.

Let’s dive in!

The Best Way To Memorize A Speech

The short answer is to use a Memory Palace . This simple memorization technique will help you feel fearless, focused , and give you the ability to track back if you ever do lose your place.

This is because this specific technique enables you to use space in the world to memorize exactly what you want to deliver… in the order you want to deliver it. As you move through your Memory Palace, you’re just ticking off boxes, spatially speaking.

You know when you’ve finished a specific section of your speech, and you know exactly where you are in space. This is why it’s easier to find your place if you momentarily get lost.

How To Memorize A Speech: Step-By-Step

As we go through these steps, keep in mind that they are quite linear.

This is the exact process I have followed many times over the years. They are the modern version of an approach that has been around since at least 90 BCE, as described in a book called Rhetorica ad Herennium .

Step One: Write A Great Speech

It sounds kind of obvious, but I want to point it out all the same.

So many speeches fail because they speaker knows that their message isn’t great.

There’s only one fix: Put in the time to boil your message down to just one idea. Craft it and shape it like a wordsmith.

Include examples and quotes, use metaphors and similes, all in the service of addressing just one key theme or thesis.

how to memorize a speech fast

Also, make sure to choose an opening with short and simple words. One study in particular has found something I think that accounts for the success of my TEDx Talk and my video presentations overall: short and simple words are correlated with trustworthiness.

It’s worth reading your written speech over several times, and ideally having it reviewed by at least one other person.

To get an object take on it yourself, record yourself speaking the speech out loud that you’re sure it sounds right. Often, you’ll be able to weed out unnecessary words a lot better once you’ve heard what they sound like when played back on a recording. 

You can also get a speaking mentor like I did. I’ve actually interviewed him on my podcast where we go over further details about how I delivered my TEDx Talk based on his presentation coaching.

You’ll save a lot of time by only memorizing a speech that you don’t need to change after you’ve memorized it.

Next, you’ll begin to create the ultimate tool for memorizing the perfected speech.

Step Two: Create a Memory Palace

A Memory Palace is simply a mental recreation of a location you’re familiar with. First, you draw out a journey and then decide where you will play mnemonic images that remind you of each and every word.

Let’s look at a specific example of how a real person uses this technique based on my help: Jonathan Levi and his TED Talk “ What if Schools Taught us How to Learn? “

As I just mentioned, I suggest you draw out your Memory Palace journey. Here’s Jonathan’s:

TEDx Talk Memory Palace Mockup

Jonathan Levi’s Memory Palace for his TEDx, a speech he memorized verbatim.

The trick is to make the Memory Palace big enough to contain your entire talk.

For my own TEDx Talk, I used an entire neighborhood in Kelvin Grove, part of Brisbane:

numbered memory palace example using a 00 99 pao

Step Three: Use Compression & Keywords To Memorize the Speech

You don’t have to place every single word inside of your Memory Palace.

Certainly, you can, and there are verbatim quotes in my TEDx Talk where I did just that.

However, for most of the talk, I was using one or two images to remind me of entire sentences.

For example, “How would you like to completely silence your mind?” was just the image of Howie Mandel hitting the YouTube like button and creating silence.

If you’re new to memory techniques, it can be challenging to come up with associations for your quotes and keywords. I suggest you learn the pegword method . It will make it simple for you to rapidly assign your associations.

Step Four: Rehearse Using the “Big Five”

Once you’ve memorized your speech using the Memory Palace, it’s time to use the Big Five at least five times. 

What does that mean?

  • Write out what you’ve memorized, from memory.
  • Speak it out loud, either to yourself or someone else.
  • Record yourself speaking and then listen to the recording.
  • Get your recording transcribed and read it over.
  • And practice, practice, practice!

Practice your speech in front of the camera or in front of friends. Use the relaxation tips I shared earlier in the post. And get as comfortable as you possibly can before you jump up on that stage.

Finally, let’s take a look at a couple of real-life examples, so you can see how this methodology works in practice.

Real-Life Examples of How to Remember a Speech Using Alternative Approaches

In this section, we’ll talk about how to memorize a speech quickly using some of my favorite alternatives to the Memory Palace technique.

how to remember a speech

There are a couple of speeches I give regularly. Both the NAME and FREE speech are very fluid and packaged, and I do them entirely from memory based on acronyms.

Let’s look at both speeches, starting with… 

The NAME Speech

When I give this speech, I talk about how to memorize names.

I follow the acronym “NAME.”

  • Making A ssociations,
  • Using M emory Palaces, and
  • Managing E xpectations.

Within 20 minutes I’m done and everyone in that room can memorize any name they want!

Does working from an acronyme mean my speech is a little bit different every time? Of course, but this method is super simple to follow, very structured, and gives me the chance to just talk about the topic.

Next, let’s look at… 

The FREE Speech

The same thing goes for this particular speech. When I give this speech, I run through the acronym:

  • F requency,
  • R elevance,
  • E dutainment, and 
  • E ngagement.

What I find fun about using acronyms to memorize your speech is that you can also use them backward. Sometimes I’ll write out “FREE” on the board, and then proceed to work up from the bottom. It’s a great way to catch the audience’s attention.

Hopefully, by this point, your interest has been piqued. And maybe you even want to learn more about how to give a great speech.

The Ultimate Benefits of Memorizing A Speech

Now that you know how to memorize a speech, I think it’s worth looking at some of the benefits I’ve enjoyed over the years.

Marketability

There are lots of companies that need someone to be able to present the value they offer – their expertise, unique selling proposition, value for the market, etc – and why customers should pick them. It’s the same for you — you want to be known as the person a company wants to hire, the one they want to promote, the one they want to give a raise.

Public speaking displays your expertise

Your ability to speak coherently and clearly is a key indicator to both your employer and clients that you know your stuff. When you can speak from the top of your mind without hemming and hawing or stuttering, it lets your knowledge shine.

Stepping on stage develops courage

Getting comfortable with public speaking takes practice — and getting out there and starting to give speeches (even if it’s just to a friend or two at first) will begin to build your courage muscle. It’s a win-win.

Speaking shows your personality

As you practice giving speeches, you’ll begin to develop your own personal presentation style. And the more comfortable you get, the more your personality will shine.

Giving speeches helps build relationships

Getting out into the community allows you to connect with people in both your personal and business networks. And if you’re still in school, it can help you build connections with your teachers and your fellow students.

Public speaking sets you up as an expert in your field

When you’re the one up on stage, it’s clear to the audience that you know what you’re talking about. You can prepare the road ahead by being known as the expert who has the courage to get up on stage and share their knowledge. Just look at Sunil Khatri’s speech success story. It helps you deliver results to other people.

Right now, your audience doesn’t have a particular set of knowledge. When you get up on stage, you’re able to give them that knowledge — and package it in a way that helps them quickly absorb it. Plus, you can do so in a way that encourages them to take action, because they’ve seen you demonstrate how valuable it is from the stage.

Speaking can help you build your memory as you learn

Learning to memorize a speech will help you build your memory as you go. Even if you do need notes in the beginning, you can still improve your memory as you practice your speech.

So as you can see, learning to commit your talks to memory is not only a valuable skill, but being able to jump up on stage and speak off the top of your mind is actually a lot of fun!

Have Fun Memorizing a Speech

Think back to how giving speeches used to make you feel .

Sweaty. Queasy. Shaking just thinking about stepping up on stage.

Now, think about how confident and powerful you can feel standing up on stage as you deliver your expertise to a rapt audience.

This second scenario isn’t just possible… it’s probable. All you have to do is follow the tips and techniques in this post, and before you know it you’ll be a cool and confident public speaker.

But maybe you’re thinking, “I don’t know how to get started — how can I give my first speech?” I would recommend to everybody, if you haven’t given a speech in your life, make an occasion to go out and give a speech, and give it in different ways. 

Give a number of speeches, even if it’s just to a small audience or a close group of friends. This simple practice will help develop both your crystal and fluid intelligence – both needed for developing the skill of speaking. And try different formats: recite from a piece of paper, do partial recall from memory , speak verbatim from memory, or any way you prefer.

And whatever you do, have fun with it! Giving speeches is a great way to play a giant, satisfying brain game — as well as delivering value to others and setting yourself up as an expert in your field.

If you’re still feeling uncertain, there’s a mini-course in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass about memorizing speeches that goes deeper into this topic.

Free Memory Improvement Course

Dive in, enjoy and please let me see you deliver your speech once it’s recorded and up online!

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Last modified: March 5, 2024

About the Author / Anthony Metivier

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4 Responses to " How to Memorize a Speech Fast: 5 Proven Tips for Memorizing Speeches "

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Great podcast Anthony. I continue to learn from you and improve my own memory. I am excited to be preparing a mini class to teach my 17 year old nephew the basics of the memory palace and the major system. He is enrolled in a pre-law program and I believe this type of training will serve him well for his entire career. I just hope I can make it interesting enough for him to continue to pursue his own memory training and perhaps take your course eventually. Keep up the great work. You are an inspiration!

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Great that you’re doing this for your son, Steven. These techniques are very useful in legal studies.

We find time and again that they way to make these memory skills interesting to young people is to make it a family activity. If you can demonstrate that you have the skills, often your kids will naturally want to master them too.

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This is an excellent podcast for those who also get nervous talking to a webcam (me, me, me). Thank you for creating this golden podcast.

Thanks for checking this out, James, and glad it is giving your some help for speaking on video.

I was really nervous in the beginning too. The sooner we get into the practice, the sooner we can gain that confidence and serve our audience.

What topic do you want to make videos about?

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How to memorize a speech 10x faster

June 7, 2021 - Sophie Thompson

Public speaking is a key life skill to learn and will help not only your personal development but also your career prospects. While you might not think this to be true, making a speech to an audience happens  much more often  than you realize.

Many job interviews now, for example, will involve making a presentation to interviewers, while making speeches at events like funerals or weddings may also come your way.

Central to all public speaking is the speech itself. What you say is, after all, critical in getting your message across in the right way. Although  coming up with a speech  can be daunting at times, it is remembering what to say when the pressure is on which scares us the most.

To add to this pressure, you will not always have lots of time to learn your speech by heart.

If time is short or you just don’t fancy spending hours going over a speech, the best thing is to find ways to memorize it quickly. The tips below will come in handy for this and help you learn any speech up to 10x faster.

1. Outline your speech to begin with

Memorizing a speech faster begins with how you formulate the speech itself. So many people make the classic mistake still of writing out a formal speech verbatim, as you would an essay or story. This does not help you learn the text quickly though or sound natural when delivering your speech.

It is much better to simply  outline key ideas for your speech  when writing it out. Many top-level speakers will just make a bullet point list of what they need to talk about for example.

If you need specific stats or examples as well, try to simply note them concisely by the relevant bullet point. This type of speech is much faster to memorize and also gives you room to improvise.

2. Use mental images to help

As well as how you write your speech out to then learn, the mental process you use to remember it is crucial. In short, the human mind tends to  remember images better than words . You should therefore improve your ability to learn a speech quickly by attaching images to the key ideas in your dialogue.

If you plan to start off a business speech by discussing how to increase profits, you might attach the mental image of a dollar bill to this for example. It then makes sense to do the same with the other parts of your speech. You should find that, when speaking for real, bringing the images to mind helps you to remember what to say.

3. Use the ‘Memory Palace’ technique

In addition to using images to help memorize a speech faster, you can also try the ‘Memory Palace’ approach. You may have heard of this before because it is a method used by famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

In essence, it sees you attach the bullet points/mental images in your speech to objects in the real world. The most common way is attaching each point/image to a piece of furniture in the room as you learn a speech.

When you then come to recite it back, you use the visual aid of looking at a certain piece of furniture to remind you what to say next and where you are up to.

4. Practice it

Once you have your outline and mental techniques in place to remember your speech, you should practice it as much as possible. It is fine to start off with the written outline in front of you but you should try to make the speech from memory after a few goes.

Practice Memorizing a Speech

Practice memorizing your speech in a 3-step process using the online exercise. Learn More

It can also be handy to practice the speech in front of someone else (even if it is just your partner) because this gets you used to rehearsing it with people watching. Although you might not always have lots of time to practice, it will help you learn it faster.

  • Practice your speech in virtual reality
  • Practice your speech with online exercises

5. Stay rested and well hydrated

Although this has nothing to do with the practicalities of writing your speech, it can help you memorize it faster. But why is this? The fact is that our minds are able to retain information  much better when rested and hydrated . On the other hand, you will find it a much tougher task to memorize a speech quickly if you are tired or dehydrated.

It is therefore wise to get enough rest when learning your speech and also drink plenty of water. Doing this will allow your mind to focus fully on remembering what to say and help you get the speech firmly lodged in your memory faster.

One great tip for committing a speech to memory faster is to relax. If you are overly stressed or tense about remembering it, it can actually make it tougher to recall. Sometimes the harder we try to force something, the further away it slips.

Try to relax  and remain in a state of positive mindfulness. You should find this helps the information to stick in your brain better and be easier to recall. A clear, quiet and relaxed mind means there is no internal noise stopping you from recalling any information.

Memorize a speech faster for a presentation

Memorize a speech faster for less hassle

If you need to give a speech in public for whatever reason, you need to learn it and be confident of what you will say when the pressure is on. No one wants to spend long hours, late nights and weekends doing this though.

In addition, you might not have much time to learn a speech anyway! With this in mind, the above tips to memorize any speech up to 10x faster are very useful.

Not only do they make committing any speech to memory a breeze but they also enable you to get fully prepared for your public speaking engagement.

Learn how to memorize a speech with online classes and a memorization game for practice.

How To Memorize A Speech: Proven Tips And Tricks

  • Why Memorize Speeches?
  • How To Memorize Speeches

Preparing for a big speech can be a nerve-wracking experience. Whether it’s the commencement speech at your graduation ceremony , a career-making presentation, or the best man speech at a wedding , preparation is the key to getting through your speech without a hiccup. 

But how do you even begin to memorize something as lengthy and detailed as an entire speech? Luckily, there are some tried and true ways to commit your speech to memory before the big day. Here’s why memorizing your speech can make it even better and eight ways to make the memorization process a total breeze.

Why is it important to memorize speeches?

Public speaking is challenging for many people, but it’s much easier when you give yourself the opportunity to plan and prepare. Memorizing your speech allows you to move from point to point without even thinking about it. This not only increases your credibility as a speaker, but it also makes it easier to connect with your audience, since you’ll be at ease instead of struggling to figure out what to say next.

How you go about memorizing your speech is important, too. You don’t want to appear robotic or get tripped up if you’ve memorized a speech perfectly from beginning to end and then happen to forget a word and lose your place. The best way to memorize a speech is to know it front to back, inside and out, and to be able to recall each piece of it, even if it were broken up and jumbled like a jigsaw puzzle. 

Sound like a big task? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back. Here’s how to memorize your speech like a pro.

How to memorize a speech

1. Get organized.

Think of your speech as a script. Decide exactly what points you’d like to make and what you’d like to say ahead of time. Ideally, your speech should have distinct sections that divide the information you’re trying to convey as well as an attention-grabbing introduction and conclusion. Make use of transition words , too, to keep your audience engaged. The more organized your speech is, the easier it will be to memorize and to create cues for yourself in case you get tripped up.

2. Write it down.

Reciting your speech out loud isn’t the only way to memorize it. You can also write it down. The practice of writing helps to encode things in the brain more deeply. Pick one section of your speech and write it word-for-word a few times during the week. The next week, pick a different section and keep the practice going. In no time, you’ll find yourself remembering lines and transitions with more ease than ever.

3. Give yourself enough time.

Memorization doesn’t happen overnight, so don’t wait until the night before or even the week before a big speech to begin the work of memorizing. For longer speeches, give yourself at least four to six weeks to get it down. For shorter speeches, two to three may suffice. Plan which parts of your speech or presentation you’ll work on each week, with the final week spent running through the entire thing from start to finish. Not only will you get the speech down completely, but you’ll also prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed.

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4. Use memory tricks.

Don’t have superhuman memory? That’s OK; most of us don’t. That’s where memory tricks come in. If you need to remember a difficult acronym, specific terms, or just where to transition from one part of your speech to another, come up with a memory device to help remind you in the moment. Here are some ideas to try:

  • Make flash cards for each section of your speech.
  • Use mnemonics for important terms or to recall the order of information.
  • Create a song or rhyme you can refer to in your head if you get stuck.
  • If it makes sense with your speech, include images or visuals to trigger your memory.

5. Practice your movements, too.

Coordinating specific movements to make during different parts of your speech can help encode it more deeply in your memory. Plus, it helps you avoid awkwardness during the real-life delivery of your speech. Decide where you’ll stand as well as when and if you’ll move to different areas while you’re talking. If you’ll be behind a podium, figure out which hand gestures make sense and won’t be distracting to your audience. All of this will help you feel more prepared and make the delivery of your speech feel like second nature.

6. Use sleep to your advantage.

Research has shown that sleep helps the human brain process and store information. You can use this as a trick to help you with memorizing your speech. Try reviewing your speech right before you go to bed some nights. The night before the big speech, do one last run-through and then make sure you get a full night’s sleep so that you feel refreshed and that your brain is functioning at its highest capacity.

7. Quiz yourself.

It’s a good idea to test yourself regularly to make sure you’re making progress on memorizing your speech. The easiest way to do this is to memorize each section of your speech separately and then test yourself over that section. As you learn more and more of the speech, you can challenge yourself to recite all of the sections you’ve learned so far. You can even pick random sections to recite out of order to make sure you really have it down. Lastly, ask a friend to read the speech while you recite it so they can catch any missed words or information.

8. Make a plan for mistakes.

Even if you prepare a lot, mistakes and forgetful moments can still happen. Rather than fretting about it, come prepared. Write good notes that you can use to cue yourself with just a glance. Plan to take a sip of water if you need to buy yourself an extra few seconds to remember the next line. Also, brainstorm some phrases you can use to talk yourself through mishaps and keep your audience engaged if you need a second to get back on track. Here are some examples:

  • “I’ll refer to my notes here.”
  • “Let me take a step back and gather my thoughts.”
  • “To summarize what I’ve talked about up to this point, …”
  • “Are there any questions about what I’ve covered so far?”

Remember: your audience doesn’t expect perfection. Relax, make eye contact, and trust in the hard work you’ve done to commit your thoughts to memory. You’ve got this!

Public speaking is a craft you can master with tips, tricks, and practice. Learn how!

Ways To Say

how to memorize speech quickly

Synonym of the day

5 steps to memorize a speech in less than an hour

• Memorizing a speech is sometimes easier said than done.

• Two-time national memory champion Ron White has some tips on how to memorize a whole speech.

• From outlining the talk to creating a mind palace, here are a few tips on how to become a confident public speaker in no time.

Speaking in front of a crowd can be scary. In fact, research has found that glossophobia — the fear of public speaking — is the most common phobia among Americans, ahead of thanatophobia — the fear of death.

As Jerry Seinfeld points out in his standup routine , this means the average person going to a funeral "would rather be in the casket than give the eulogy."

But public speaking doesn't have to be so scary.

Ron White, a two-time national memory champion , said in a video that when you know your speech by heart and don't have to rely on note cards or reading a slideshow, "your confidence will skyrocket."

"This also allows you to maintain eye contact, being a more dynamic and powerful speaker," he explained. "You will appear more knowledgeable to your audience as well."

White says he learned this simple five-step process for memorizing and giving speeches about 25 years ago, and he still uses it today:

1. Write the outline for your speech

how to memorize speech quickly

Never write out a speech word for word, or try to memorize it word for word, White said. "It will sound corny or canned. You want a speech that sounds natural and flows." Also, he says, when you only memorize the bullet points, this allows you the freedom to say something spontaneous that may turn out to be a great new addition to your speech. "I typically just write out short phrases or a single word to remind me of what I want to talk about," he explained. For example, if he wants to give a speech on increasing profits, he might write out the 10 main ideas like:

• Increasing profit • Time management • Communication • Continuing education and growth • Goals • Rewards for hitting goals • Working smarter not harder • Efficiency • Organized • Teamwork

"Because it is my speech, these bullet points are all I would need to know to keep my thoughts on a stream," he said.

White explained that this step is no additional work. "If you were going to give a speech with notes you would do this anyway, because these would be what you'd write on your note cards. So the first step is to prepare as if you aren't going to use a memory system."

2. Create mental images for each bullet point

how to memorize speech quickly

Next you'll want to create mental images for each of bullet points "because the mind remembers pictures easier than words," said White.

He shared the mental images he'd use for his example bullet points:

• Increasing profit: dollar bills • Time management: a clock • Communication: a phone • Continuing education and growth: a plant growing (for growth) • Goals: a field goal • Rewards for hitting goals: a "Wanted" poster with a reward  • Working smarter not harder: a brain • Efficiency: an energy-efficient apartment • Organized: a organizer/planner • Team work: a sports team

3. Create a 'mind palace'

how to memorize speech quickly

In order to memorize anything, you need a place to store the data. "The best technique for this is the Mind Palace," White explained. This technique has been around for at least 2,500 years and is written about in the "Sherlock Holmes" books and utilized by Shakespeare in the Globe Theatre.

"It's where you visualize what you want to recall on furniture in your home," he explained.

White says it will take you about 20 minutes upfront to build a Mind Palace — meaning, to select pieces of furniture in your home or office. "But once you do that, you can use this Mind Palace for the rest of your life for so many other things," he explained.

To assign numbers to the furniture, you'll want to stand in the doorway of a room, start on your left, and move around the room clockwise numbering five large items.

In the first room, you'll number the furniture items 1-5; in the second room, number them 6-10; and so on.

4. Visualize

how to memorize speech quickly

Now you want to assign the images you associated with each bullet point to these items — but as you do this, you want to think of a smells, tastes, sounds, or feelings associated with each image for each piece of furniture.

"The more action and emotion, the better," said White.

For instance, if furniture item No. 1 is your couch, imagine the cushions are green and stuffed with money, and that they make the sound of paper being crumbled when you sit on them.

Do this for each bullet point and item, one through 10.

"This is how you memorize," said White. "You really want to see the images on the furniture. The more vivid you can make the images — by actually hearing the sounds of the water, tasting the food, feeling the heat of a fire, etc. — the better you will remember it."

Then, he says, when you give your speech and you are standing in front of the room with no notes in your hands, you'll be able to think back to your house and start mentally walking through your home.

You'll see the couch stuffed with money and say, "Today I want to talk to you about increasing our profits."

5. Review and practice

how to memorize speech quickly

Review these items and images over and over in your mind until you know them, said White.

Give the speech at least once from memory to make sure the images work for you and they are enough, he suggested.

"Once you have this technique mastered you could give a speech that lasts for hours without notes," he said. "You can still use a Power Point as a visual aid, but it will no longer be a crutch for you."

how to memorize speech quickly

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How to Memorize a Speech in One Night

Last Updated: October 16, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Patrick Muñoz . Patrick is an internationally recognized Voice & Speech Coach, focusing on public speaking, vocal power, accent and dialects, accent reduction, voiceover, acting and speech therapy. He has worked with clients such as Penelope Cruz, Eva Longoria, and Roselyn Sanchez. He was voted LA's Favorite Voice and Dialect Coach by BACKSTAGE, is the voice and speech coach for Disney and Turner Classic Movies, and is a member of Voice and Speech Trainers Association. There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 1,249,363 times.

Memorizing a speech in one night is not an easy task, but it's possible. There are hundreds of different memorization techniques out there, but the best method is the basic, tried-and-true strategy of repetition and practice . If you're looking for something a little more fun, you can try the memory palace approach - it will help you visualize the key components of your speech and help you commit the whole thing to memory in just one night.

Memorizing Through Repetition

Step 1 Write out the entire speech.

  • There is no need to print the typed speech each time that you type it.
  • However, you may be more likely to remember things that are handwritten rather than typed. [2] X Research source

Step 3 Rehearse your speech for a friend.

Using the Memory Palace Technique

Step 1 Organize your speech into bullet points.

  • For example, if the bullet refers to finances you may visualize dollar bills.
  • If the bullet is discussing fashion you may visualize a shirt.

Step 4 Match the bullet point with an object and piece of furniture.

  • For example, you may discuss fashion by visualizing a row of shirts in the wardrobe.
  • When talking about finances you may visualize dollar bills coming out of the oven.

Preparing for Success

Step 1 Get enough sleep.

Expert Q&A

Patrick Muñoz

  • Don’t worry about memorizing the speech word for word. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 4
  • Remember to rehearse your body language as well as your speech. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 3
  • Read it in front of a mirror. Thanks Helpful 3 Not Helpful 2

Tips from our Readers

  • Try not to wait until the last day. Practice every day for about 30 minutes, and try to do it in front of other people so you feel more confident when you're giving your actual speech.
  • Stand in front of a mirror and recite your speech one paragraph at a time. Remember to make eye contact in the mirror to help you build more confidence.
  • If you're allowed to have them, write keywords from your speech on flashcards to help trigger your memory with what comes next.
  • Whenever you have free time, try to recite the speech out loud to yourself so you can practice a bit more.

how to memorize speech quickly

  • Work on separate parts, and then slowly put it together. Thanks Helpful 35 Not Helpful 3
  • Memorizing a speech in one night can be difficult. If you have time, try to spread the work out over several nights. Thanks Helpful 69 Not Helpful 26

You Might Also Like

Develop Good Communication Skills

  • ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/enhancing-your-memory/
  • ↑ https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/taking-notes-by-hand-could-improve-memory-wt/
  • ↑ https://hbr.org/2020/02/dont-just-memorize-your-next-presentation-know-it-cold
  • ↑ https://www.gvsu.edu/ours/oral-presentation-tips-30.htm
  • ↑ https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/article/view/19102/22119
  • ↑ https://www.comm.pitt.edu/visual-aids
  • ↑ http://campusmindworks.org/students/self_care/sleep.asp
  • ↑ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210729122037.htm
  • ↑ https://counseling.uiowa.edu/self-help/30-ways-to-manage-speaking-anxiety/

About This Article

Patrick Muñoz

If you only have one night to memorize a speech, start by typing out the speech or writing it on a new sheet of paper to help commit it to your memory. Rather than memorizing the entire speech word for word, focus on remembering the bullet points and any important facts or statistics. When you feel comfortable with the material, try rehearsing in front of a friend or family member, or record yourself and watch the video to see where you can make improvements. For tips on remembering your speech with the memory palace technique, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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How to Memorize a Speech (In 5 Easy Steps!)

February 15, 2023

How to Memorize a Speech

If you have an upcoming speech or presentation, you’ve probably wondered whether or not you should try to memorize it. 

Some people memorize the speech word-for-word, some people use notecards, and some don’t commit any bit of their speech to memory. But what’s best?

In our ultimate how-to guide, we’ll cover how to memorize a speech fast, why memorizing speeches is beneficial, common pitfalls when trying to memorize a speech, and other tips for memorization. 

Why Should You Memorize a Speech?

Learning how to memorize a speech — or at least the main parts of a speech — can be incredibly beneficial for any public speaker. Your audience will understand your message or the information you’re trying to convey much easier if you’ve memorized the key points. Chances are, you’ll speak more clearly and appear more confident and engaging. 

Think about it: If you’re reading a speech from a piece of paper or your phone, or if you’re just reading the slides of your presentation, you’re hindering the connection with your audience. 

On the other hand, if you’ve memorized a speech, it’ll sound more natural, conversational, and almost informal, which helps people relate to what you’re saying. Using note cards is totally fine, but the more you’ve memorized, the easier it is to deliver a successful speech.

There are tons of benefits to learning how to memorize a speech. For example, you’ll: 

  • Master effective public communication, one of the most helpful skills you can have (no matter what career or industry you’re involved in)
  • Build and a cultivate closer connection with your audience
  • Show just how knowledgeable you are about the subject you’re covering 
  • Shine a light on your public speaking skills

However, memorizing a speech can be challenging for lots of people.

What’s the fastest way to memorize a speech?

How fast it’ll take you to memorize a speech depends. But at the very least, try to give youself an hour’s worth of time.

How to Memorize a Speech Fast

To memorize a speech fast, you’ll have to put in some work and practice. 

The best way to practice memorizing a speech is through a speech coach like Yoodli . Yoodli uses AI capabilities to analyze a user’s speech to provide them with insights they can use to improve. 

How to Memorize a Speech

It can tell you if you’re talking too fast, if you’re using too many filler words, and even if you’re using non-inclusive language by accident. You’ll get coaching comments too, including actionable suggestions to take your speech to the next level — completely for free. 

How to Memorize a Speech

Once you’ve recorded or uploaded a video of yourself practicing your speech, you’ll get instant analytics and feedback you can take advantage of.

Here are some more specific tips on how to memorize a speech fast, including the specifics for the best way to practice.

5 Tips for How to Memorize a Speech Fast

We already know there’s a plethora of benefits to memorizing a speech. From improving your confidence to building reliable connections with your audience, memorizing at least parts of your speech can take your public speaking skills to the next level.

Here are the top five tips to memorize a speech fast. 

1. Write your speech out first.

Before you do anything, write your speech out in full. You can also make an outline for the overall speech (this will help you identify some key points for later).

Making an outline and writing out your speech also helps you nail the structure and plan not only what you want to say, but when you want to say it. If you’re wondering how many words you should aim for, you can make an estimate based on the time limit you’re going for. For example, evaluating how many words in a five-minute speech can help you make an appropriate estimate. 

2. Start by reading your speech word for word.

Even though your goal isn’t to read your speech word-for-word to your audience, reading it to yourself in full can help you identify areas that don’t work. There might be some awkward phrasing or even a mistake or two. Reading it aloud helps you target these.  

You can change overly complex information or complicated jargon to simpler terms, making it easier for the audience to understand and easier for you to convey.

3. Identify your speech’s key points.

Since you have an outline and full speech written out, identifying your speech’s main points will be easier. 

If you’re feeling stuck, try thinking of the top three main points you’d like to make. Then, you can break down those main points into smaller key points via a method called chunking. You can think of it like a tree. 

The main idea would be the tree trunk. So, for example, if you were giving a presentation on cybersecurity , you might have three main branches: information sharing, federal networks, and critical infrastructure protection. Under the information sharing branch, you might have a few other smaller branches, like: 

  • Information sharing programs
  • Traffic Light Protocol (TLP)
  • Automated Indicator Sharing (AIS)

Chunking information like this can help break your speech down into bite-sized, consumable pieces that are easier to memorize. 

4. Practice, practice, practice.

Most importantly of all, to memorize a speech, you need to practice. Practicing through Yoodli is a great option, since you’ll get instantaneous, individualized feedback for improvement. You can use this AI speech coach to skip the guesswork and find exactly what you need to work on. 

For example, maybe Yoodli flags your filler word usage as an area for improvement. Now, you know exactly what you need to work on. You can even play games on Yoodli, like “No Filler,” that tests your ability to go without fillers for a set period of time.

Whichever way you practice, it’s always easier when you have some direct feedback to work off of. 

5. Don’t stress.

Easier said than done. But keeping your cool is essential to memorize a speech. Getting overwhelmed or overly anxious can derail your progress. Nerves can affect your practice and your speech’s delivery, too. 

Use some relaxation techniques, like deep breathing and mindful pauses. Remember: You’re fully capable of giving a successful speech. 

Common Mistakes When You’re Learning How to Memorize a Speech

If you’re learning how to memorize a speech, you’ll want to avoid these common pitfalls: memorizing the speech in full and not preparing at all. 

Although you might be tempted to memorize the entire speech just to be safe, it actually does more harm than good. Here’s why: You could completely lose the actual message in staying too close to the script. 

If you’re so focused on not slipping up and merely reciting the speech, there’s a good chance you’ll sound too robotic or monotonic . 

Memorizing your speech in full also puts extra pressure on yourself, whether you realize it or not. Going off script can inevitably cause you to panic, since you didn’t practice anything other than the word-for-word speech.

However, not preparing at all is an even bigger mistake when you’re learning how to memorize a speech. 

This is the complete opposite of the first pitfall . People who choose not to prepare usually do so because they’re worried they’ll sound too monotonic if they try to memorize any part of their speech. However, that’s not the case if you stick to memorizing the key points. 

It’s always better to prepare through practice and key memorization than to just wing it. Winging it is too big a risk, especially if the speech and presentation could affect your career. 

How to Improve Your Memorization Skills

When you’re learning how to memorize a speech fast, sometimes working on your core memorization skills can make a world of difference. 

Here are four quick tips to improve your memorization skills, especially if you have a speech or presentation coming up.  

  • Get some good rest. Although you might be nervous about your speech (or you might be tempted to stay up all night practicing), it’s essential to get good sleep if you’re working on your memory. 
  • Make sure you’re eating right. Nerves aside, you shouldn’t be skipping meals. Make sure you’re eating healthful foods and staying hydrated. Being dehydrated or hungry can affect how your brain remembers things. 
  • Be sure you stay organized. Just like your notes and speech should be well-organized, so should your overall space. It’s difficult to memorize anything when you’re in a cluttered, distracting environment, so staying organized can help with this issue. 
  • Keep your mind sharp. It’s easier to memorize things if you’re working on your mental capabilities as well. Keeping your mind sharp can include doing things like: crossword or sudoku puzzles, finding a new hobby, reading, playing music, or even in-person activities, like volunteer work. All of these activities can help prevent memory loss in the future. 

The Bottom Line

Learning how to memorize a speech can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Usually, you aren’t trying to deliver a perfect monologue. The goal of giving speeches and presentations is to convey information in a meaningful, effective way.  

By learning a few tips for how to memorize a speech fast, you’ll be able to break down the speech into manageable, key points that are more easily remembered. 

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.

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Giving a good speech is a kind of paradoxical task.

On the one hand, nobody likes a reader. If you’re looking down at your notes, or worse, simply reading off the slideshow, you seem unengaged and unprepared.

On the other hand, the speech should feel natural. Good speakers sound as if the words just came to them in a conversation, even though they probably practiced it thousands of times.

For an interesting dissection of this, consider this analysis of how the comedian Louis C.K. tells a joke . The delivery is so casual that you feel like you’re overhearing him chatting with a friend in a bar. Yet the timing is so perfect you know that he did this dozens, if not hundreds, of times to get it right.

That’s the paradox: you need to memorize a speech, without seeming like you memorized it.

Fortunately, there’s a method for doing this, that is useful to learn.

Should You Even Try To Memorize?

Before I jump into the method, I want to address a first complaint—that memorizing a speech isn’t the thing you should do. That memorization will make your delivery robotic.

There’s some truth to this. Over-reliance on verbatim memorization can lead to an artificial sounding speech . However, I’ve learned that this is more a symptom of memorizing the speech, in the wrong way, than an issue with memorizing per se .

Good speakers aren’t entirely rigid. There should be some flexibility to your speech, particularly if there’s a chance you might get interrupted or need to change direction based on the reaction from your audience.

However, memorization, in some form or another, is essential. If the speech isn’t in memory, then it needs to be in your cue cards or slideshow, and then you’re back to reading. So most critiques of memorizing speeches are merely critiques of memorizing in a particularly inflexible, verbatim way. The way I’ll teach you avoids this problem.

The Step-by-Step Process to Memorize a Speech

1. write out the speech.

The first step is to write out your speech. There’s two ways you can do this. The first is simply to write it out exactly how you want to say it. If you’re comfortable as a writer, or you are trying to script out a presentation quite precisely, this can work.

However, most people are more familiar with talking than writing, so it’s often better to write out the speech as an outline, instead of as a full script.

2. Rehearse the Speech, With Your Script/Outline

Next, you want to try saying your speech out loud, with your script. At this stage, it’s okay to read it. You simply want to know how it sounds as a speech before you start the work of trying to memorize it.

Very often, when you start reading your speech aloud, you’ll recognize parts that need to change. This is a sculpting process, where you delete, add or reorder large chunks to make it sound better.

If you wrote out a complete script, you’ll need to do this several times to edit the script to make it sound more natural. If you’ve written a lot of speeches, this is easier. However, writing and speaking differ in many ways, so if you just go straight to memorizing a fully written speech you will probably sound a bit off.

If you only wrote an outline, this stage is where you end up creating the speech. It will probably take several times just to figure out what you want to say, so this process can sometimes be longer. The advantage of going from outline, as opposed to full script, is that you don’t have the residue of the written script influencing how you deliver it. If you need to appear more casual or spontaneous, this is especially helpful. Less so if you’re doing a formal presentation.

3. Memorize, Big to Small

The key to memorizing a speech is to memorize it hierarchically. You want to start with the broad chunks, then specific paragraphs, phrases, and finally, specific intonation and timing with words.

There’s two reasons to do it this way. The most obvious is that, aside from professional speakers, few people will hit the last stage and memorize the tiny details. Instead, the speech will be “good enough” when you’ve memorized the broad content of certain paragraphs, and are still loose enough to switch the delivery a little bit.

The second reason is that this gives you maximum practice at the more zoomed out level of your speech. This means you’ll have memorized this part the best, and will be able to fall back on it if you misremember a lower-level detail.

I once was presenting with a team, and one of our team members had the bad habit of skipping over small paragraphs or sections, like a record skipping over part of a song. For us it was a nuisance. But for the audience, he was skipping out parts of the logical sequence of the speech. Suddenly, our beautifully crafted presentation didn’t make any sense since we omitted a key part of the presentation. Memorizing hierarchically solves this problem by giving you the ability to remember the gist, even if you forget the parts.

4. Start with the Big Chunks

The first place to start is with the biggest chunks. These should be the logical and rhetorical content of your speech. The broad strokes of what you’re trying to talk about.

If you’re giving a sales presentation, this might be, “Describing the problem,” “What our product is,” and, “How to buy it.”

The first way to memorize this is simply to write out what these main points are on the page and then, covering them up, try to recall them. Spend a few minutes doing this and then try delivering your speech, focusing on the broad points, without worrying too much whether you get the exact delivery right.

5. Move to the Small Points

Once you’ve convinced yourself that the big chunks are 100% memorized (which shouldn’t take too long), then you want to move to the smaller points. These are not sentences, but they represent the meaning of what you want to say with them.

Depending on the speech there will be a lot more of these. I recommend expanding your bullets for your big chunks to represent each idea with one or two key words. This is considerably briefer than a full script, but it may actually be more detailed than your original outline—since you’ll have one point every sentence or two, whereas your original outline might have only included the big chunks.

Quiz yourself to memorize these points. I often like to tie them to the big chunks. So I could ask myself, “What are the points for — ‘Describing the problem’?” I would then proceed to recall from memory all the points I want to make and then check my list. Did I get them all right?

This can take a bit more work, so it’s useful to do a mixture of memorizing via this quizzing and actually practicing the speech. The reason to do some self-quizzing, instead of just rehearsing the speech, is that we’re trying to memorize the speech content first. Whereas, if you only rehearse the speech verbatim, it’s very easy to get stuck on memorizing the literal words of the speech but losing track of the broader structure.

Your goal here should be perfect recall of all the points. If I ask you, what are the points for chunk X of the speech, you should be able to flawlessly tell me what they all are. If you can’t, or you have to stop and think for more than two seconds, you don’t know it well enough. Keep quizzing yourself and you’ll have it memorized soon.

6. Memorize the Delivery

Now, hopefully, you’ve memorized the big chunks of your speech and all the points you need to make in each chunk. Since you’ve done it in this order, the overall structure of the speech should be deepest in your memory, followed by the points to be made and only finally some of the ways in which you are trying to say those points.

For many speeches, this is enough. You can simply go out and deliver your presentation, knowing that even if you change how you deliver it, the content will remain the same.

However, good speakers often go a step further. They rehearse it top-to-bottom a number of times so they can start making microscopic changes to the order of words, sentences, even timing and intonation.

One example of such a tweak. If I’m giving a speech, I might start to overuse a word too much. If I were giving this article as a speech, loosely, I might say the word “memorize” over and over again. In this phase of rehearsing a speech, I could make sure that sometimes I say “memorize” and sometimes I say “remember” and other times “rehearse” so as to give variety in my performance.

Jokes and comedy depend a lot on timing and delivery. So if you’re trying to write a speech that intends to be funny, this step is often difficult to skip since you need to have not only the right content, but the right delivery to make the speech work.

7. Deliver the Speech

Finally, you need to actually give the speech.

Although now we’re onto performance not rehearsal, it’s important here to remember to focus on the high-level chunks and points, not the words and delivery in your mind at this stage. Focus on what you want to say, and the “how” of your delivery will simply come out however you practiced it most before.

This step is important for a couple reasons.

First, it gives you maximal flexibility. If you get interrupted, someone asks a question or you flub and forget a word, you’ve remembered the meaning not the syntax. This means it’s easier to get back onto a logically coherent path, rather than trying to spit out sentences in the wrong order.

Second, it will feel the most natural. What makes someone feel natural in their delivery of a speech is that they are feeling the content of the speech as if it was coming to them right now. When you memorize the words, the semantics of the speech can get buried, and you can end up delivering it in a way you would never do in a conversation.

If you did do the sixth step, mastering the delivery, then whatever was best practiced will be the groove to which the record needle of your mind sticks to. Focusing on the content, not the delivery, is important here to seem natural. Think about what you want to say and the right way to say it will come out automatically because of your practice.

Why Bother With Memorizing a Speech?

I don’t memorize every presentation I have to give. If I know I have multiple takes (say I’m recording a video) very often what gets recorded are the takes I do as I’m trying to figure out what to say.

Similarly, if I’m delivering a longer talk then I may aim for improvising around the structure of the talk, without trying to master some element of the delivery. Longer speeches, obviously, take longer to memorize, so there may be somewhere when the cost-benefit of memorizing is no longer being reached.

However, often in your life you’ll have to deliver a speech where the stakes are high and there are no do-overs. In this instance, knowing how to properly memorize a speech, so you can say it exactly, without sounding robotic, is a useful skill to develop.

The nice thing about this process is that it goes in order of priority. So the question usually isn’t, “should I use this approach to memorize a speech?” but, “how far should I go for this particular speech?”. You may finish after early rehearsals, or memorizing the points, or even go so far as to perfect the timing of tiny nuances in your body language or tone of voice for particular words and phrases. This same process applies throughout.

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2 simple ways to get people to listen when you speak, according to a Stanford communication expert

thumbnail

You're probably not as good of a listener as you think you are.

Statistically, it's true for most people. Many professionals believe that they're highly attentive, but 70% of them actually exhibit poor listening habits in the workplace, according to a 2020 University of Southern California report . So you've got to be clever if you want to grasp someone's attention, says Matt Abrahams, a communication consultant and organizational behavior lecturer at Stanford University.

It's a lesson that Abrahams learned, in part, while lecturing. Polite requests for his students' attention fell on deaf ears, drowned out by their "chit-chatting," he tells CNBC Make It.

Here are the two ways he recommends commanding a room instead.

Don't say anything at all

You're in a meeting room, chatting with co-workers. One of your company's executives walks up to the front of the room, stands behind a podium and gazes out at the group. Odds are good that you'll stop talking.

"One of the best things to do to command attention and get people to be quiet is to actually just stand in front of them and not say anything," Abrahams says. "Just to physically stand up in a position where everybody can see you."

It only takes four seconds for silence to become awkward, according to a Dutch psychology study published in 2011. It might feel uncomfortable for you too, but the awkwardness alone "will typically draw people in," says Abrahams.

While you're waiting, you can try to control your breathing or clear your mind. "It's very hard to stand in silence, but that can be very helpful," he adds.

Make a declarative statement, repeat it if necessary

Saying something impactful or thought-provoking with no warning can have a similar effect, says Abrahams.

"Just this past Monday, we were talking [in class] about nonverbal presence. They're all talking and I just stood there for a moment. And then I said, 'How you say something is often as important or more important than what you say,'" Abrahams says. "And then I paused, and they're still shuffling on, and then I repeated it. And then everybody was quiet."

Put simply, don't ask for control — just demonstrate it. You can also try other tactics like starting a big presentation with a question, or playing music before an event starts, which signals that something else is about to happen, says Abrahams.

"Just exerting that control, either by asking a question, standing in silence or making some kind of declarative sentence that's provocative will help people [listen]," he says. "You might have to repeat yourself once or twice, but that's what I do."

Want to make extra money outside of your day job?  Sign up for CNBC's new online course How to Earn Passive Income Online to learn about common passive income streams, tips to get started and real-life success stories. Register today and save 50% with discount code EARLYBIRD.

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Hamas Took Her, and Still Has Her Husband

The story of one family at the center of the war in gaza..

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Hosted by Sabrina Tavernise

Produced by Lynsea Garrison and Mooj Zadie

With Rikki Novetsky and Shannon Lin

Edited by Michael Benoist

Original music by Marion Lozano ,  Dan Powell ,  Diane Wong and Elisheba Ittoop

Engineered by Alyssa Moxley

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Warning: this episode contains descriptions of violence.

It’s been nearly six months since the Hamas-led attacks on Israel, when militants took more than 200 hostages into Gaza.

In a village called Nir Oz, near the border, one quarter of residents were either killed or taken hostage. Yocheved Lifshitz and her husband, Oded Lifshitz, were among those taken.

Today, Yocheved and her daughter Sharone tell their story.

On today’s episode

Yocheved Lifshitz, a former hostage.

Sharone Lifschitz, daughter of Yocheved and Oded Lifshitz.

A group of people are holding up signs in Hebrew with photos of a man. In the front is a woman with short hair and glasses.

Background reading

Yocheved Lifshitz was beaten and held in tunnels built by Hamas for 17 days.

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We aim to make transcripts available the next workday after an episode’s publication. You can find them at the top of the page.

Fact-checking by Susan Lee .

Additional music by Oded Lifshitz.

Translations by Gabby Sobelman .

Special thanks to Menachem Rosenberg, Gershom Gorenberg , Gabby Sobelman , Yotam Shabtie, and Patrick Kingsley .

The Daily is made by Rachel Quester, Lynsea Garrison, Clare Toeniskoetter, Paige Cowett, Michael Simon Johnson, Brad Fisher, Chris Wood, Jessica Cheung, Stella Tan, Alexandra Leigh Young, Lisa Chow, Eric Krupke, Marc Georges, Luke Vander Ploeg, M.J. Davis Lin, Dan Powell, Sydney Harper, Mike Benoist, Liz O. Baylen, Asthaa Chaturvedi, Rachelle Bonja, Diana Nguyen, Marion Lozano, Corey Schreppel, Rob Szypko, Elisheba Ittoop, Mooj Zadie, Patricia Willens, Rowan Niemisto, Jody Becker, Rikki Novetsky, John Ketchum, Nina Feldman, Will Reid, Carlos Prieto, Ben Calhoun, Susan Lee, Lexie Diao, Mary Wilson, Alex Stern, Dan Farrell, Sophia Lanman, Shannon Lin, Diane Wong, Devon Taylor, Alyssa Moxley, Summer Thomad, Olivia Natt, Daniel Ramirez and Brendan Klinkenberg.

Our theme music is by Jim Brunberg and Ben Landsverk of Wonderly. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Paula Szuchman, Lisa Tobin, Larissa Anderson, Julia Simon, Sofia Milan, Mahima Chablani, Elizabeth Davis-Moorer, Jeffrey Miranda, Renan Borelli, Maddy Masiello, Isabella Anderson and Nina Lassam.

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