With such an information heavy diet it’s harder than ever to use your precious mental energy to burn something into your memory. Whether a phone number, a simple grocery list or even your opening quote, we have so many crutches in our life to record information that we have lost the ability to easily remember things.
One of the most proven memory aids is the mnemonic device, a pattern of letters or ideas that assist you in recalling something. To help your mind “stay on track” we at Release Your Voice use: RAIL. Feel free to use the following strategies and come up with a mnemonic device that means something to you – it’s all about your personal associations and designing something to power up your memory.
Repeat-– Repeat the name, number or idea silently to yourself a few times. If it’s somebody’s name, try to use the name in conversation. Introducing the person to others is a natural way to recite their name. If it is a long sentence or number make sure to breathe and clear your mind of other clutter. If needed, find a quiet spot and recite the information while looking at yourself in a mirror.
Amplify–The more exaggerated and colorful the mental image associated with the information or name, the easier it will be to remember. When appropriate, while memorizing a concept or quote, make the picture larger than life. Make it funny, dangerous or turn it into a song. Many find it helpful to amplify your gestures and move the body while reciting passages, quotes or presentations.
Imagery—As mentioned above, associate the person’s name or information with a picture that is easy to recall. The full name, quote, or passage should create a mental picture. If you are memorizing a specific name, the person should be in the picture. If it is a specific number, try associating a number that means something to you. Example: Remembering the number 407 – imagine four boats on the “seven seas”.
Look and Listen – Take time to look at what you are assigning to memory. If it is a new acquaintance, look directly at them and get a strong mental image of the person. What characteristics make the person unique? Is the person large, small, tall, thin, lots of hair, no hair? Listening is also essential. If it is a quote or passage, be attentive to the rhythm, pace and use of language. If it’s a person with a difficult name, listen clearly and ask the person to repeat their name if necessary.