Q: The 90th National FFA Convention & Expo is right around the corner. You’ll deliver several formal addresses that week. What are your tips for memorizing your lines – from the opening script to your retiring address and everything in between?

Really know the message behind what you are saying. That way, even if you mess up a word or two, you are still communicating the same meaning. My favorite way to practice scripts or speeches, however, is to say them passionately while driving. I get to practice and other drivers get to laugh while trying to guess what must be happening in my car.

– David Townsend, National FFA President

I typically handwrite what I need to memorize. As a kinesthetic learner, I find that this helps me because I’m able to engage that hands-on style. I also try to give myself plenty of time so I can memorize little parts at a time.

– Victoria Harris, National FFA Secretary

Whenever I have an idea, I quickly talk it out using a voice memo app and then write it in the way I would say it on stage. Writing in the way I speak helps with memorization. Once the entire script is complete, I read along with a recording of the script and then, piece by piece, try reciting without the paper.

– DeShawn Blanding, Southern Region Vice President

When I memorize scripts for speeches, banquets or anything in between, I write the script, record myself saying it and listen to it at least three times a day. This helps it to naturally sink in before I sit down and go through the script line by line. I memorize the first line and then add in the next, eventually saying the whole thing. It takes time, but it is so worth the feeling of confidently stepping on stage with everything memorized.

– Valerie Earley, Central Region Vice President

One of the ways I memorize speeches is to take them one section at a time. I get one section down and then move on to the next. I also remember that the important thing is to know my message by heart, not by head. Know the key message you want to share, but don’t get hung up on every little word. Speak from your heart, and the words will come!

– Ashley Willits, Eastern Region Vice President

I take two easy steps to memorize lines. First, I chunk everything up into small pieces because it is hard to memorize everything at once. Second, once everything is memorized, I practice in the mirror to see what it looks like in real life.

– Trey Elizondo, Western Region Vice President