Memory lapses are embarrassing business mistakes many of us make on a regular basis. Many of us are so busy, with so much to do, that it seems impossible to remember everything.
There are many tricks and tips to help you remember different types of information, as well as techniques to help you improve your memory overall.
Here are 3 memory hacks that can also boost your communication and productivity…
1. Use linking to remember names
If you’re trying to establish business relationships, you can’t afford to forget the names of the people you meet.
If you regularly attend business networking events, and talk to many new people every week, you might want to consider memory techniques to help you remember the people you meet.
The technique involves picturing images that sound like a person’s name and other information you know about them.
“If you meet someone named Laura from Brazil, imagine her with a laurel wreath on her head swimming in the Amazon River.” – Vivian Giang, Business Insider
The next time you meet that person, you will be able to conjure that image to remember their name and other key details about them.
2. Visit your Memory Palace when giving presentations
The best public speakers are able to address everyone in the room and keep everyone interested. This is rarely possible if you’re reading directly from your notes.
The Memory Palace is an ancient memory technique, explained wonderfully by journalist Joshua Foer in this TED talk…
“It involves converting information into wild, wacky and strange (and therefore memorable) images, and then visualizing those images in your mind’s eye, inside of a building you know well. Cicero used the memory palace to memorize the speeches he delivered on the floor of the Roman senate. Medieval scholars used the technique to memorize entire books.”
Next time you have a speech or presentation to learn, try creating your own Memory Palace where you visualise certain points you want to make as features within rooms. As you give your presentation, “walk through” your memory palace, using your imagined features to remember your key points.
3. Chunk information to tackle your to do lists
Most of us are able to store around 7 “chunks” of information in our short term memory. That’s why it makes sense to break phone numbers down into 2-3 smaller chunks when telling them to people.
Cambridge based Neuroscientist, Daniel Bor, discussed the value of chunking in his book The Ravenous Brain. In one study, a volunteer of average IQ and memory capacity went from being able to remember a 7-digit number to an 80-digit number after practising for 80 months.
This particular participant was a track runner who was used to remembering times. He was able to split down a larger number into chunks by remembering each 4 digit number as a time (e.g. 3492 became 3 mins 49.2 seconds), which would serve as one “chunk” in his memory.
Sam Montoya, author of The Art of Satori blog suggests using chunking to break your to-do lists down so your brain can handle them…
‘In a way you are tricking your brain and breaking things down into smaller pieces to remove the paralysis. When you see things broken down like this it helps you psychologically attack that to-do list as opposed to sitting there with so many choices you do nothing.”
Do you use memory techniques to improve productivity? Share your experiences in the comments below.