This is likely no surprise to anyone who like me does some public speaking: if you really want to remember the key things you are going to tell your rapt (or even less-than-rapt) audience, then say that stuff aloud to yourself beforehand.
Every public speaker has undoubtedly discovered – and if you haven’t, then you really should look into it – that you are much more likely to recall something you heard yourself say aloud than something you merely repeated to yourself in that voice in your head.
And that’s also the unsurprising conclusion of research on 95 participants from the department of psychology at the University of Waterloo which was published in the journal Memory, namely, that when these study subjects said something aloud to themselves, they were more likely to store that information in their memories than if they just read that information or if they heard it from someone else.
So the next time I have to look up the definition of the word “inchoate” (for the New York Times crosswords that I do religiously and where I keep forgetting the definition of words I repeatedly look up), I will definitely say that definition aloud to myself (and ignore the looks from my wife sleeping next to me as I talk aloud to myself) and maybe this time I’ll remember how to use “inchoate” properly in a sentence.
Now I just have to remember to say the definition aloud.
That’s gonna be tough.