BRAIN FOOD: Route to the top ... Improving your memory

BRAIN FOOD: Route to the top ... Improving your memory - Make a conscious effort to listen. The main reason we don't remember people's names or other vital facts is that we don't take them in properly or make it important to remember them.

by OCTAVIUS BLACK, managing director of The Mind Gym,www.themindgym.com
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Make a conscious effort to listen. The main reason we don't remember people's names or other vital facts is that we don't take them in properly or make it important to remember them.

Create a visual image - something that reminds you of the name and any connection. For example, Matt Barrett of Barclays might be a 'welcome' mat at the entrance to a Barratt home bought with a Barclays mortgage.

The more extreme the image, the greater the chance that you'll remember.

Create rhymes or 'sounds like' links - ideally with concrete nouns, which most of us find easier to remember; eg, Varley with barley, Aviva with fever.

Memorise in sequence. To remember a list of facts in a particular order, link each to a different room or piece of furniture in your home. Because you can remember what your home is like with minimal effort, it will be easier to recall the list in the right sequence.

Accentuate the positive. When you need to remember something, associate it with positive feelings. This makes retrieval more fun and so more likely to happen.

Assist others in remembering too. For example, give your name as the third piece of information, not the first. Providing a link ('my surname is Bailey - as in the Irish Cream') can increase the chance you'll be remembered.

Don't let nerves get the better of you. Stress and worry can inhibit memory retrieval. When you can't remember important information, think about something unrelated instead of becoming anxious. If you have 'encoded' effectively, your unconscious mind will retrieve the relevant facts.

Put it in writing. Even with the above techniques, our memories are limited.

Wherever possible, write things down immediately or shortly afterwards - this will always give you the best chance of total recall.

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