Mind over matter

Even in the age of search engines, remembering certain things can give you a huge advantage at work, explains Chester Santos

Your ability to remember can become one of your most valuable business assets. The bottom line is this – people want to do business with smart people, and we view people who have a razor-sharp memory as being the smartest.

How great would it be to quickly and easily remember facts and figures, speeches and presentations without notes, foreign language vocabulary, key points from meetings, material for certification exams, and the names of people that you meet? This is well within your reach!

Here are some principles of how to improve your memory.

1. Visualise
Take whatever it is that you are trying to remember and try to turn it into a simple image or series of memorable images.

2. Involve additional senses
Beyond visualisation, try to involve as many additional senses as you can while trying to commit a piece of information to memory. The more senses you involve, the more of your brain you’ll be using and the more connections in your mind to the information you’ll be building – so it will be much easier to remember.

3. Use your creativity and imagination
Next, use your creativity and imagination to make what you are seeing and experiencing in your mind crazy, unusual and extraordinary. This is important so that you can take advantage of the psychological aspect of your memory. We can all remember things that are crazy, unusual and extraordinary in some way with little effort.

Practical exercise
Let’s put these three principles into practice and use them to commit to memory the following random list of words: cloud, bicycle, elephant, watermelon, cat, egg, rabbit, mud, bird, whistle.

To memorise the word list, try and visualise the ‘story’ that I describe. Just see it happening to the best of your ability, almost like a cartoon or film playing in your head.

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You see a giant cloud. Falling out of the cloud is a bicycle. The bicycle lands and crashes into an elephant. On the elephant’s back you notice a large watermelon. The watermelon explodes and a cat runs out of it. This cat runs straight into an egg. The egg cracks open and a rabbit hops out. This rabbit jumps right into a huge puddle of mud. The mud splatters all over a gigantic bird. This bird starts to fly and you notice that it’s blowing a whistle.

Read through the story just one more time while visualising everything described. Now, recite all the random words from memory by simply going through the story in your mind and recalling each major object that you encounter.

Practice makes perfect
One handy memory trick to use in conjunction with the tips above is to review important information just before you go to sleep. You’ll wake up the next morning knowing the information much better than you did the day before.

Your memory is your secret weapon – invest some time developing memory skills and you can soon be enjoying more success in your career. Using your memory more will strengthen it – your brain is like a muscle that gets stronger with practice, so use it or lose it!

Chester Santos is a memory skills expert, speaker and author. Visit www.InternationalManofMemory.com for more information.

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