Memory is a multi-sensory-process so first and foremost we want to use words that will connect all the senses.

Smell, taste and touch

Invoking aromas can produce impressive reactions; take for example wine descriptions on a menu, ‘Fruity’, ‘Leathery’, floral. These spark mental associations.

Restaurant menus use descriptive choices of words: fire-roasted; crafted, traditional family recipe, all designed to make you salivate.

If you run your fingers over an object, what feeling do you experience? Can what you’re describing be thought of as smooth, rough or perhaps sharp? Your ability to link language to senses invokes strong memories and in turn makes your words memorable.

The eyes and ears

The more visual imagery contained in your speech or presentation, the more memorable it becomes. Take the following example: ‘‘A fox with glasses told his submarine to dive beneath the surface’’.

This is reasonably unusual but if you were to dial up the imagery, you might produce, ‘The reddish orange fox adjusted his sky-blue goggles and barked the order for his yellow submarine to dive beneath the salty, emerald sea’.

Sound can act both as a tool in its own right but also as a reinforcement. When you describe a ‘crashing cymbal’ or a ‘crack of thunder’ the audience is automatically given an image as well as adding a sound and a sense of drama to your speech.

Such use of vivid imagery and sound helps create more powerful memories for your audience.

The most potent weapon for a speaker wishing to deliver a notable speech are ‘word hacks’; seemingly simple word magic tricks that can be used to dazzle an audience.