“I have a terrible memory.”
I hear that phrase more than any other when people find out I help people to realise how good their memory is… and I say the same thing every time:
"No, you don't, you've just never been trained."
That is to say YOU do not have a terrible memory, the only reason you say this is that you have never trained your memory or had help from someone to help you train your memory.
Usually we have been talking about a thing that interests the person, something they really really would like to learn but don’t know how: Driving Test Theory, How to prepare for an interview, how to learn music theory, language vocabulary, people’s names, the names and heights of every Munro in Scotland and the date you climbed each on, or the price of the latest stock in Jimmy Choo Shoe’s Shop.
THE POINT: Your interest might not be listed here, but please read on. I’m going to ask you what you think you can’t remember a little later.
What happens next?
What usually happens is that I then go on and show people who say this to me, and very quickly, that with just a little help pointing them in them in the right direction they not only have a fully functioning memory - but it is very likely that they have a BETTER MEMORY for the things they want to memorise than I do.
So, I say: “Can I show you how good your memory is?”
Usually they say “Yes.” If I met you, hopefully you would too.
“I’ll give you an example. You got five minutes?”
“Okay. Yes. “They say. You probably would too.
The first thing is a simple thing, without any help or input from me they try to memorise a dessert menu in order and with prices.
They can’t. Because they have never been trained.
I show them how to memorise it.
They tell me the list forward and backwards.
What happens next?
Well usually what happens next is this person who said five minutes before “I have a terrible memory.” Then smiles says “That’s amazing.”
They get a small glimpse into what they are capable of. And the truth is, we are all capable of memory feats that seem almost impossible when you don’t know how. And easy when you do know how.
Of course, unless you work in a restaurant or are seriously interested in food you are not likely to be much interested in learning a technique for memorising dessert menus. But the exercise gives you a glimpse into how you could memorise WHAT YOU REALLY ARE INTERESTED IN or, if it is for work, WHAT YOU NEED TO LEARN.
If you say: “I have a terrible memory.” And no matter what it is: For learning, reading, numbers, dates, people's names, birthdays, anniversaries, facts and figures, unfamiliar words, new products, new prices. Or even where you put your keys...
We say, "No you don't, you've just never been trained."
Because that's the truth.
A (very) little info about me, so you know who you are dealing with:
I started on Memory Techniques to help people working on exhibition stands, I am not talking about salespeople, but factory workers and technicians and business owners and secretaries and lab workers and - just ordinary people who thought they would never be able to remember details of fifty or sixty products. Those techniques led me to work with musicians wanting to memorise music theory, language learners wanting to learn vocabulary and grammar, that led to language Teachers wanting their students to pass exams, students wanting to understand complex concepts with many parameters - right down to people who want to be able to memorise their To-Do lists and shopping lists. The techniques are the same, using the fundamentals of memorisation. The approach is always personal and always effective.
If you are still reading:
I've worked with language learners who think they can't remember vocabulary, until I show them how. I tell them about the French Language Scrabble Champion who does not speak French (you can look him up - he memorised the whole French Scrabble Dictionary using memorisation techniques), he's English and decided that he needed new challenges after he had won everything in English Scrabble. He uses the same methods I will show you. You won't be able to memorise a whole dictionary with the fundamental techniques I show - not at first anyway - but memorising the first thousand words in French or German or Spanish or Greek is something you will be able to do. And do very quickly. Look up the French Scrabble Champion who doesn't speak French.
I can (if you want) teach you to memorise the order of a deck of cards. This is an official event in the World Memory Championship. A Grandmaster of Memory has to be able to memorise the order of ten packs of cards in one hour. And recite the order forwards and backwards.
I can (if you want) teach you memorise a procedure or protocol on how to do something step by step. And quite literally you will be able to do it backwards.
I can (if you are so inclined) show you how to memorise the names of everyone who works for your company, goes to the same club as you do.
I can (if you are so inclined) show you how to memorise the registration plate of every car in your street or, if you work in a car showroom, in your car showroom. I can even show you how to remember all the prices.
But most importantly, it’s what YOU want to learn to do.
So how do you start?
Ask yourself what it is that you do you not think you can learn to do because you have a “A terrible memory.”
Imagine me saying to you, “No you don’t, you’ve just never been trained.”
The place to start is with the Fundamentals of Memory Techniques.
You contact me. We speak or e-mail each other. I tell you how much these lessons cost. You say “Really? That sounds very reasonable.” We arrange a lesson. You tell me: “I really have a terrible memory.” And I will say:
“No, you don’t, you’ve just never been trained.”
What? Contact me.
Where? From wherever you are right this minute.
When? Right now.
Why? Because you might forget.
Then put in your diary: “Dear Diary: In a “fit” of clear thinking I realised that learning about memory system is going to be really useful for what I’m going to be writing about in this diary for the rest of my life.
Thanks for reading.