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Memorise detailed information faster – a memory training example

Memorise detailed information faster – a memory training example

Memory techniques can substantially speed up how quickly you can remember new information, its like a brain hack. No more rote learning, yippee!  Once you master how it works it becomes easier and quicker the more you use it. If you want to memorise fast, read on!

I recently had a student come to me with a list of fairly detailed points that they wanted to memorise. It was a version of Dr. Deming’s 14 Points for Management. The list emailed to me was summarised, the first two are detailed below for our example. I’ll also quickly touch on extending this to longer points / paragraphs with more information.

First two in the list of 14:

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and providing jobs.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy of change.

So, how would I approach this list to learn it faster?

I would use linking for each point, but each point would also be a location in a memory palace.

Linking is just where you use several images linked together in a sequence or story to represent information.   You can read more about memory palaces in this blog.

I would be quite literal. So, step one would be to choose a memory palace. This would not need to be ‘made up’ ahead of time, I would just choose a new place and make up the locations as I memorised each point.

Note that the images and stories that you would make up would likely be very different to mine and that is ok. We are all different. Just go with your own associations as that is what will work for you.

There are 3 steps in memorising each point:

1. Do word image association slowly reading the sentence.
2. At each location play with the chosen images to make an image story.
3. Check your progress. 

Lets start with point one in the list to memorise.

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improving products and providing jobs.
First do some word image association slowly reading the sentence –

I read through the sentence and notice what images could spring to mind. When I think of ‘create’ I think of hands making something, like out of clay, ‘improving products’ I see an item and then it getting replaced with better and better versions and ‘providing jobs’ I see more people lining up to start work and clock in with an old fashioned card slot.

Then at that first location I play with those images to make the sentence into an image story –

We have some image associations, now we want to make them make sense and represent the information.

Hands are creating (I notice with constancy of purpose – I see them doing it on purpose, sort of with attention) a product out of clay. This constancy of purpose is for improving the products (I see the products are improving because what started as rough clay lumps are now taking shape into clearer defined objects). It gets to a point where there are so many of these now neat clay products being placed that there are more people being provided jobs, I see them running up and lining up next to the hands and clocking on.

Really also see the story in the location you have chosen. Oh no! there is clay on my white couch!

You will notice there is not really an image for each word. It is usually not needed or even recommended to have image for every word as it gets confusing. Instead add quality detail to the story to add words (Ie the hands are creating with a constancy of purpose – this image is different to if they were just creating with gusto or vigour so see the quality in the image).

Check your progress –

Now read out loud the sentence while looking at the ‘story in your head’. Then try to look away and say the sentence while just looking at the images in your head.

When you stumble (which is normal) look down at the page. Repeat a few times, if you keep stumbling at a word as you repeat you may need to adjust your image a bit.

Also make sure the story is in order – it starts with create and ends with providing jobs. This will also assist with the sentence coming back to you.

Then onto location two and point 2 in the list to memorise. Repeat the process:

2. Adopt the new philosophy of change.

Do some word image association slowly reading the sentence –

What springs to mind? for me ‘adopt’ reminds me of the old movie Annie at an orphanage, ‘philosophy’ reminds me of a philosophical book l have and love (I can see the cover) and ‘change’ is a triangle symbol in Maths.

Play with those images to make the sentence into an image story at the next location –

I am standing at the second location, on a table. There is the orphanage from Annie, and Annie herself. I pull her under my arm like I will adopt her. I am proud of this orphan she is clutching a new philosophy book under her arm and is clearly thoughtful. She flips the book over and I see the change symbol – I believe we will both change to make our new family work together.

Check your progress –

Read the sentence and then see the images/story in your head. Look away and try to say the sentence seeing the images, any problems look back at the page. Repeat a few times until point 2 is solid.

REPEAT ALL

At this juncture I would quickly go back to the beginning of the palace and see if I can say the first two points (by going to the location and looking at the images in my head).

Then move to location three and point 3. and continue through until the 14 points are memorised.

A further few notes for once you have all the points solid in upcoming days.
  1. Reflect on what the points mean. Now the information is memorised deepen your memory and give meaning and understanding to what you have learned. You can also do this during the above process if you prefer.
  2. You can add more information and detail to what you have memorised. For example if each of these points had more text or explanation about them that you wanted to remember, you add on at that location. Like a little side story – this may interact with the first one or just be next to, underneath or above it.

Want to get good at memorising quickly? Take a look at my step by step Master Your Memory course. If you need a bit more guidance Master Your Memory Plus includes one on one coaching.