disadvantages of memorized speech

5 Disadvantages of Memorized Speech

One of the most compromising situations a person can find themselves in is sitting in front of an audience and realizing that they have suddenly forgotten the speech they were going to give. The most embarrassing thing is perhaps stuttering, struggling to remember the thread of the address, searching for words with difficulty, as if he is unsure what he means. How can you talk about a topic with confidence? 

The mistake is that many people try to learn the speech, word for word, and then because they forget a comment, the speech does not come out as expected. Catastrophic, right? The problem becomes more acute when they torment themselves, trying to find an exact term.

In this article, we will show you the disadvantages of delivering a memorized speech and explain how each weakness affects you and your audience. You can learn more by browsing through other relevant articles later; I will leave the links below.

  • types of speech delivery
    The 4 Methods or Types of Speech Delivery
  • Memorized Speech or Presentations
    How to Prepare and Deliver a Great Memorized Speech
  • presentation stand out
    Want to Stand Out? 15 Key Tips for an Awesome Presentation

5 Disadvantages of Memorized Speech

1. Oblivion 

Unfortunately, suppose you do not remember a keyword that links two critical ideas or cannot develop the planned sequence. In that case, it is unlikely that you will proceed with the presentation by speaking with aplomb and demonstrating authority on the topic. 

This is perhaps the biggest problem of memorized speech. When you memorize your speech, you probably won’t also prepare to speak impromptu, free or planned, to develop your ideas by speaking in front of the audience.  

Thus, when you forget some point of the speech, you will be forced to venture into a type of speech you are unprepared for. 

Even knowing the subject, the pressure you feel for forgetting what you have prepared probably does not allow you to reason calmly and, due to insecurity, either heroically proceeds to the end, hesitant and without conviction, or ends prematurely, sometimes even with an embarrassed apology. 

Some product demonstrators speak with the message so memorized that they sound like machines playing a recorded tape. If they are interrupted, they may have to return to the beginning to recover the exposure sequence. 

This behavior weakens your authority and distracts your listeners.

2. Unnaturalness 

No matter how good your acting skills are, you probably won’t be able to hide from the audience that your speech was memorized. 

The sparkle in the eyes, characteristic of those who try to follow the memorized sequence, the exaggeratedly measured gestures, the typically hurried rhythm of words, the closed countenance due to excessive concentration, and so many other indicators indicate that the speech was memorized. 

I remember a demonstrator of audiovisual equipment who was tasked with presenting his products at my school; when we talked about subjects outside his professional activity, he was a cheerful, communicative person with many minds. 

But when talking about the use of his products, he underwent a profound transformation, his face stiffened, and he uttered the sentences mechanically, with cadence. Uniform and monotonous. 

It was a clear demonstration that the speech was fully memorized. As good as his ability to express himself was, the memorized speech harmed him, weakening the quality of his communication and keeping the listeners’ interest in his products away.

3. Lack of mindfulness 

The audience expects you, as the speaker, to be “present” where you are (not only physically, it may seem playful, but your mind also needs to be there). The best demonstration of this presence and one of the most efficient ways to engage with listeners is to use information that arises in the environment itself. 

  It could be a comment from a listener, the external noise of a passing plane or the sudden braking of a car, a bottle that falls from the waiter’s tray, the presence of some personality, or an expert on the subject. 

The audience will notice that the facts are happening and that you are remaining somehow distant as if you were not there to observe the circumstances that move and give life to the environment.

 If the speech has been completely memorized, you may not take advantage of one of these circumstances for fear of losing the sequence of words you have learned. You probably won’t risk messing with what’s been prepared.

4. Self-indulgence 

If you, as a speaker, get used to memorizing speeches, you can get comfortable preparing your speeches and start repeating the same message in all the environments in which you present yourself, sometimes even in the same place and to the same people. 

It could be the beginning of the downfall of your career as a speaker. The risk is that people get sick of hearing the same stories, the exact comparisons, the same jokes, and the same message. 

Over time, the audience may drift away. The remaining listeners may watch the performance without enthusiasm, interest, and expectation, as they already know what will happen from beginning to end.

5. Going into “autopilot.” 

Even if it’s not intentional, you may repeat the line so many times that you naturally end up memorizing, if not the entire exposition, at least most of the information. 

 A phenomenon known as “autopilot” may also appear when this fact occurs. While one part of the brain almost unconsciously commands the presentation, the other rambles on, mulling over other subjects. This attitude can cause you to withdraw from the listeners and reduce your involvement with the environment. 

The solution to this problem is to try to reverse the order of some information; that is, what you would say more at the end would be mentioned at the front to stay attentive to the message and concentrate on the presentation.


In delivering a memorized speech, if our notes are very detailed, for example, we are likely to be concerned about the exact phraseology of the sentences.

Using appropriate words is critical, but the utterance becomes forced and formal if too much attention is paid to this. Thus, the naturalness is lost. For this not to happen, we must think carefully and in advance about what we will say, focusing more on ideas than words.

Reference and Further Reading

What are the advantages and disadvantages of memorized speech?

Memorized Speech

4 Different Types of Speech Delivery Methods

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