5 Techniques to Boost Your Memory and Your Productivity

A Dale Carnegie Primer on Developing Your Memory

An essential part of any communication process is preparing your information so you can deliver it easily and your audience can assimilate and recall it effortlessly. If your audience can access and use your information, they can quickly turn that information into usable knowledge and you will be their hero.

In the Dale Carnegie program, we help participants develop their ability to use the information they gather in their life experiences and turn that information into usable knowledge. We do this by helping them learn several techniques based on how their minds handle information.

Here are some basic concepts that scientists and psychologist have discovered about how our memory works over the past decades:

  • We easily remember the most recent ideas and events. So if someone recited a list of items for you to remember, you would find it easier to remember the last items, or the most recent items, on that list.
  • We tend to remember ideas and events at or near the start of a session. Again, if someone recited a list of items for you to remember, you would find it easier to remember the first few items on the list. Now, you may have heard various speaking gurus say that the most important parts of a speech are the beginning and the ending. Now you know why.
  • We tend to remember things and events that are outlandish, exaggerated, or that stand out from their surrounding environment. Sticking with the recited list concept, you will easily recall items that appear to be exceptionally different from the others on that list.
  • We tend to easily remember things that physically exist and we can visualize. You may have noticed that abstract concepts are more difficult to remember than physical objects. For instance, you will find it easier to remember the word “flag” over the word “freedom” in our example word list.
  • We tend to remember vivid, vibrant images over dull and static ones. Contrary to conventional thinking, the more specific the image, the easier it is for you to remember.
  • We tend to easily remember emotionally charged images over those that have no emotional component. If you have an item on your list that evokes strong emotion from your past, you will find it easier to remember that item over something that you feel indifferent about.

Throughout the Dale Carnegie program, we build on the above concepts, developing processes for remembering names, enhancing our human relations, delivering presentations, and communicating effectively with our peers.

Here are 5 ways you can use these concepts right now:

  1. Use images instead of words when preparing your information for memorization and recall. For instance, when going grocery shopping, many people will attempt to remember the words on a list. Instead, visualize the items you want to remember on that list. We cover this extensively in the Dale Carnegie Course and will touch on this in the Breakthrough to Your Success seminar.
  2. When remembering a difficult item or concept, establish a relationship of the item to something that you can easily remember and recall. Again, we use this “linking” technique extensively in the Dale Carnegie Course for remembering names.
  3. Break up your study sessions into 10 to 15 minute segments to create multiple start and end points. You’ll remember from the concepts above, the beginning and ending of a session are easier to recall over what’s in the middle. Maximize this effect by creating many of these memorization points.
  4. When remembering a person’s name, exaggerate a specific observation about that person and link it to their name. In the Dale Carnegie program we use the ACME formula, providing a handy cheat sheet for name memorization techniques.
  5. When creating a PowerPoint presentation, make it memorable by using colorful and vivid graphics in place of a list of dull, dry words.

What techniques do you currently use to remember name, faces, and events? Like us on Facebook and let us know the memory tactics and learning strategies you use in your daily activities.

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