Actors are great at this. But what about the rest of us?
Our day job at SWYM is using Rich Pictures to tell stories in a more memorable and compelling way. So I wondered if we could adapt our visual approach to help learn a speech. Many great memorisers talk of using ‘visual systems’. Mnemonics uses a memorable phrase to prompt first letters. For example ‘Richard of York gave battle in vain’ – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet – the colours of the spectrum. Seems Newton shared our own penchant for the cerise end of the spectrum. Would a mental image help fix the structure and content of a speech in the mind?
Try it. I’ve taken Martin Luther King’s famous final speech, ‘the Promised Land’, recorded the day before he was murdered. There’s a 60 second video here. It reveals this infographic in time to the original recording. And the full typescript is below.
Watch it a couple of times. You’ll see the structure and repetition of themes – ‘I, me’ and ‘the mountain’. Note the nuances in the script. Then try reciting it with just the infographic infront of you.
I’d love to know what you think. Does it help? Do you think you can learn it more easily?
‘The promised land’
We've got some difficult days ahead.
But it doesn't matter with me now.
Because I've been to the mountaintop.
And I don't mind.
Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God's will.
And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.
And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.
Martin Luther King, April 3rd 1968.