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Memory Trick: Memorize Lists and Speeches

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9/18/2011 5:01:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I noticed in the "meh" forum someone said they had a speech to memorize and were too tired to do it.

I was reading a book by Derren Brown (a mentalist) and he showed me this amazing way to memorize lists and speeches.

I used it for one speech, didn't think about the speech for a week, and could bring the entire thing up beat-for-beat whenever asked.

There are several variations for different memorizations (one for numbers, one for single word lists, one for speeches).

Here is what I consider the easiest one. There is a more advanced version (memory palace) which I haven't been able to master since it takes a lot of focus.

It turns out that our minds are great at storing images and crappy at storing printed words. We're not bad at remembering sound loops either, but only short ones.

I had a speech that I had to give explaining the a television pilot and series I was working on with a friend.

In it, I had to describe the logline, plot, characters, ending, and emotional throughline all while memorizing where I had to stop so my partner could take over.

They key is to translate sentences/ideas into images.

Think of a walk you have taken hundreds of times. It could be from one end of your house to another, around a park, or even a drive somewhere. The MOST important thing is that you are so familiar with this route that you don't have to think.

I'll give my example next.
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9/18/2011 5:02:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Interesting post, Wnope. I might use it one day when I am probably forced to memorize speeches in senior English/AP class in the future.
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." --Terence

"I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality."--Thoreau
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9/18/2011 5:11:39 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
First, please don't ask for details, since this isn't just my project.

Here is one section of the speech:

"[TITLE] is set in a Student Run Free Medical Clinic where a group of eager but inexperienced Medical Students try to provide care for an overwhelming amount of uninsured and underserved patients. Operating three nights a week out of a church basement, it is a constant struggle to keep the Clinic open. That job mostly rests on the shoulders of the Clinic's founder, Dr.----- The day to day runnings of the the Clinic are handled, begrudgingly, by Dr. ------, an insensitive, alcoholic orthopedic surgeon forced to work at The Clinic as punishment for a DUI.

The procedural aspect of each episode revolves the students attempts to treat a wide variety of patients seeking free care."

This is the beginning of what I had to say. Here is how I memorized it.

I start in my driveway. There is a student in a medical coat staring at three churches side by side where the cars should be.

As I approach my back gate, it is blocked by a woman I know whose first name is the same as the Clinic Founder's.

I open the door, and smashed into the side of my house is a car containing a doctor waving a bottle of alcohol in one and someone's foot in the other.

As I move towards the two steps, I notice one of those rotating discs you see on playgrounds. On it are some med students and some sickly-looking homeless patients.

The weirder and more unique the image is, the more likely it is to stay in your head.

There are similar systems for memorizing lists (when you are good, someone can say twenty words to you, and then they can ask you repeat any word, or say the word in any position (what was the 15th word) and answer correctly even after a week or two of not thinking about it at all.


Derren Brown uses an example of this by giving a list of things to do that day. I looked at it once, three weeks ago.

That list is:

1. Pick up your suit.
2. Get your friend x to call another friend y.
3. Get your phone repaired.
4. Feed the parrot.
5. Call Daniel.
6. Tape Mind Tricks (Derren Brown's show).
7. Search on the internet for rubbish.
8. Double check that you've taped Mind Tricks.

I did that off the top of my head without referring to the book. I got 8/8. If you ask me to list it in person, I can tell you the list backwards or forwards by reversing the "mental walk" you take.