How To Improve Memory and Concentration
To help memorize names, the speaker suggests you use
Hello. My name is Michael Ronayne. I'm a Director of the College of Public Speaking and I'm going to be talking about different aspects of public speaking. If you're looking to improve your memory and concentration, I think the first thing is you have to make sure that what you're trying to remember is important to you. My children, for instance, they know the names of all the Pokemon characters, how they evolve and how they relate to each other. It doesn't interest me, so I have a lot of difficulty memorizing that. I had a friend once who said in an unwise moment, he said to his wife, 'I have real problem remembering people's names'. And she shot back at him straightaway, she said, 'when they start to matter to you, you'll remember their names.' So you've got to make sure that what you're memorizing has significance to you. Now typically, most of us struggle with things like, like names and what I always encourage myself to do is to use as much visual memory as I can. I make associations in my head. So for instance, if I'm trying to remember the name of a lady called Margaret Thatcher, I will imagine this lady sitting on a roof thatching it with some straw. If I'm trying to remember the name of someone called Gordon Brown, I will see a man in a brown suit holding a glass of Gordon's Gin. Very simple, you need to be a little bit careful because if you meet a Mr. Woodhouse and you go back calling him Mr. Gardenshed later, you could get into trouble. But if you use a nice clear visual association and the more absurd I suppose the association, the easier it is to remember. Now, I would also use this for remembering strange terms. Working in public speaking like I do, I need to know quite a lot of Greek rhetoric terms. I've never learnt Greek, it means nothing to me. So sometimes, I'm having to remember words that actually have no meaning to me and then I've got to remember what they mean as well. And a good example of this is the word 'antimetabolae', 'antimetabolae'. And 'antimetabolae' basically means it's a nice little rhetorical device where you change words around and you reverse them. So rather than 'eat to live,' you should 'live to eat'. That's an antimetabolae. Now the way I remember that is I've got an aunty, sounds like 'anti' to me. She's eighty, she's very healthy, she's very fit, very slim and I imagine her having this very good metabolism. So I've now got two words that help me remember the word 'antimetabolae'. What I then need to do is to remember what the actual thing means and I came up with a simple phrase 'my aunt is from my father's side, they're all Irish. She still has quite strong Irish accent although she's lived in England for many many years.' And so to remember what an antimetabolae is, I gave myself the simple sentence, 'you can take the girl out of Dublin, but you can't take Dublin out of the girl'. Another way to do it is of course, create patterns and what we often use is words or patterns of words. I think most of us when we were at school, learnt the Richard of York gain battle in vain to remember red, orange, green, blue, indigo, violet - the colours of the rainbow. I would often use this as a structuring thing for myself. For instance, I would take the word 'speaker' and each of those letters means something to me. 's' stands for 'structure', 'p' stands for 'pitch, pace, power of the voice', 'e' stands for 'eye contact', 'k' stands for 'keep things simple', 'a' stands for 'animation', I left that one out, 'e' stands for enthusiasm' and 'r' stands for 'rehearse'. So someone asked me to talk about speaking, I've got a simple little technique that will help me to go all the way through that and make sure I don't miss anything out. So to memorize things, two techniques - get very visual and use words and use the letters of words to create associations. .