How to Memorize Quickly

Get-It-Done Guy's tips on how to quickly memorize dialogue, dance steps, speeches, and anything else you need to remember quickly.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #156

How to Memorize a Dance Quickly

Even though I’m a whiz at dialog, I’m pathetic at dance. They say some people have two left feet. I have six. And they all move in different directions at the same time. When the memorize-from-the-end-forward trick worked so well with dialog, I tried it with dance. Much to my delight, it seems to work with dance, too.

How to Memorize QuicklyFor me, at least, with dance, the transitions between the new material I’m adding to the beginning and the old material I’ve memorized are particularly important. Since dance is usually taught in chunks of moves (at least at the amateur level), transitioning between the chunks is when my arms are most likely to separate from my body and start doing sign language while my legs tie themselves in knots. As with the dialog, I practice the end moves, then the transition into the end moves plus the end moves themselves, then the preceding chunk, into the transition, and all the way through.

How to Memorize a Speech Quickly

If you’re going to memorize from the end to memorize a speech, stop! Don’t do it! Memorized speeches, unless you’re a professional voiceover artist, always sound memorized. Remember first grade? “See Jane. See Jane run. Run, Jane Run.” You do not want to sound like that.

For speeches, use the memorize-from-the-end technique to memorize the outline. Then when you give the speech, you’ll have the outline in your head and can improvise the specific words so they flow.

Memorization Recap

You can memorize anything from the end: dance steps, lyrics, music. Or you can be really ambitious and try all at once. Bernice is having trouble with a wilting Ficus plant. I suggested watering it. She had a better idea. She’s designing a ritual prayer for the plant Goddess … Ethel? Her ritual includes dance, spoken word, and singing. All at once. While she’s rehearsing, starting at the end and working forwards, practicing all her transitions, I’m just going to slip a little plant food into the soil. Who’s to say that I’m not simply the vehicle through which Ethel will heal the Ficus.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

Man Dancing image from Shutterstock


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.