Memory Techniques that work

Leadership is all about constantly learning and growing. As a leader, you are going to have to remember many things, including remembering the names of your peers and clients, as well as statistics and data important to your business. This is why you should hone your learning skills and your memory techniques so you can excel as a leader. By reading on, you will learn all about the top memory tips and tricks that will help your memory and study approaches to make you a more effective leader.

1. Focusing Your Mind

Let’s start with a simple technique for remembering names. If you aren’t focusing on the person completely, it’s less likely that you are going to remember their name. For instance, if they come up to you and introduce themselves while you are dreaming about what you’re going to do this weekend, you’re not going to remember their name. What happens is that while your brain is processing the memory, it can’t recall it because you were distracted during the introduction. The biggest reason why people have trouble remembering names is that they just weren’t paying close attention.

This works with more than just names. Need to recall statistics or other information mentioned in a presentation? The first step is simply to focus.

2. Repeat What You are Trying to Remember

Sometimes you will need to repeat the name or information to improve your chances of remembering it. For remembering the name for example, after they introduce themselves, focus on their name for a few seconds. Then start getting into the habit of repeating their name out loud, in a natural way. For example, after someone introduces themselves as “Tanya”, you should say something like “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Tanya” while you shake their hand. This has the added benefit of tricking your brain into focusing on their name, as well as connecting their name with the face so that you will be more likely to remember it.

3. Prioritize Training Your Brain

One of the best ways to keep your memory as sharp as possible is to keep yourself mentally active and learn new things. The time tested adage of “use it or lose it” applies here. You need to use your memory skills more to train your proverbial memory muscle.

You can practice a crossword online or in the local paper. You can do trivia quizzes or sudoku puzzles every day to keep your memory sharp and continuously growing. You can try learning a new language or a new skill to keep your cognitive juices flowing and give you an edge as a leader. These are all examples of excellent brain training activities that will keep your brain and memory as sharp as ever.

4. Use Places

Whether you are trying to remember names or want to memorize lessons from your leadership training, visualizing the information can be a great help to you. One of the most effective memory techniques is using visual information is by using the method of loci – loci Latin for “places”. To do this technique, you need to first make a mental picture of a house or any other location that you know and can visualize really well. Then, you will associate each of the rooms in the house with different tidbits of information. Every bit of new information will then go into a new room. This is just one approach to taking any information and turning it into an easy to remember visual recall system.

5. Learning and Action

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There’s a reason why people learn best by doing something. In this case, you will learn by acting things out. It may feel a bit awkward, but it can be your secret weapon in the quest to remember things. As you study names, information, or your leadership skills, you may find that role-playing (even if it’s just you in front of a mirror) can help you better retain that information. This includes speaking out loud and even using body language as you speak. Even just moving around while studying can help you improve your studying and memory skills.

6. Connect with a Visual Image

Does the person you’ve just met have a name that reminds you of an image? Does the information you need to retain remind you of an object? Sometimes this may take some creativity but it can be extremely helpful for you to create images in your head to help you better recall the name or data element. For instance, if the name is Bob you can visualize him bobbing for apples. The brain actually has an easier time recalling images than it does recalling words or names, so making a vivid visual image helps the brain work better. Yes, this one relies on using some creativity but once you get it, you’ll find it extremely useful.

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7. Mnemonic Devices

Mnemonic devices, like using visuals, is great for learning all types of new information. By definition, Mnemonic devices are any system of letter patterns, ideas, or other associations that aid in remembering something. As an example, try using the first letter of each step in a list you need to remember, then create a rhyme, word, or phrase to help you remember it. For instance, “Roy G. Biv” is a common mnemonic device to remember the colors of the rainbow. That means the colors of the rainbow begin with the letters ROYGBIV, where R is Red, O is Orange, Y is Yellow, G is Green, and so on.

  •    R=Red
  •    O=Orange
  •    Y=Yellow
  •    G=Green
  •    B=Blue
  •    I=Indigo
  •    V=Violet

You can use the same technique when someone has a difficult name to pronounce or remember. Try breaking down the name into a mnemonic device that’s easier for you recall. There are many variations of mnemonic devices so you can take this approach and apply it to your specific situation in a way that best fits your needs and memory skills.

8. Go Back to the Information Later

Research shows that revisiting these memories has a biological benefit to the brain’s ability to retain information. This is another approach that works with studying and memory. Even after you’ve already read something, go back and read it again later to help you better retain that information. When you have just met someone new, this means at the end of the event you go back to them and repeat their name as you leave such as “It was great meeting you, Tanya. Have a good night”.

If you really want to make the memory stick, you should go back to the information on the night, the next day and even the following week. Maybe you keep a mental note of everyone that you met throughout the night and go back over that information at the end of the day and the days to follow. If you didn’t keep track, take the time as soon possible to try to recall everyone that you met throughout the day. These are all ways to help you better recall this information when you need to later on.

Always Keep Learning

As previously mentioned, keeping your brain active is essential to improving your memory skills as a leader and keeping your brain sharp. It’s also important to remember that by continually learning, you are continuing to grow as a leader. Being a good leader can be a complex task, but it can also be incredibly rewarding as you become more successful. To get to this point of success, you need to be sure you can recall any key information needed to be effective.

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RECAP: 8 Memory Techniques that Work

Below is the list again for those with short memories. Use these techniques to grow, develop new learning techniques, and strive to evolve as an effective leader. By expanding your ability to more easily remember names and other information you need, your leadership capability will continue to improve.
  1.    Focusing Your Mind
  2.    Repeat What You are Trying to Remember
  3.    Prioritize Training Your Brain
  4.    Use Places
  5.    Learning and Action
  6.    Connect with a Visual Image
  7.    Mnemonic Devices
  8.    Go Back to the Information Later
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