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7.5 Ways to Make Your Communications More Memorable

tony buzan

Tony Buzan, Creator of Mind Maps, Reveals Memory Secrets for Successful Presentations, PR and Customer Service

Years of research has shown that people forget more than 50% of the information they receive during a seminar or presentation after just one day, 70% after one week and more than 90% after one month.tony buzan

So how can you make your communications more memorable?

It’s a lot easier than most people think says bestselling author, memory expert and inventor of Mind Maps – Tony Buzan.

“Whether they’re teaching students or delivering a workshop, many people communicate in a way that’s superbly tailored to help their audience forget what they say!” comments Tony.  “The good news is that even a very basic understanding of memory and its patterns can help you make your communications clear, effective, outstanding and, most importantly, unforgettable.”

In his new book, ‘The Most Important Graph in the World’ (co-written with Jennifer Goddard and Jorge Castaneda), Tonyreveals the little-known secrets of how the memory works and explains how readers can use this knowledge to their advantage. His ‘Most Important Graph’ providesthe full formula for any communication including presentations, speeches, training, customer service, coaching, sales and teaching.

Tony offers the following 7.5 tips to help you make the jump from mundane to memorable:

1) First Impressions Count

The Primacy effect states that we tend to remember the information at the beginning of a learning experience. If you’re giving a presentation or speech, you’ve got just 30 to 60 seconds to make your audience sit up and take notice otherwise you could well lose them for the duration. Don’t start with the usual introduction and platitudes: “Hello, I’m ……. It’s great to be here.” Instead, start with a bang by making a shocking claim or statement, presenting a striking statistic, asking a provocative question, or cracking a (tasteful) joke. Or tease your audience and pull them in deeper by inviting them to ‘imagine’ something.

2) End on a High

The Recency effect demonstrates that we also usually remember the information at the end of a learning experience. Always finish your communication with some form of Call to Action. For instance, when planning a presentation or seminar you should have in mind: “What do I want the audience to Look, Feel, Say or Do at the end of my presentation?” Prepare a ‘key’ sentence that will create the response you want in those precious final moments.  In customer service or sales encounters, consider the ‘lasting impression’ that you’d like to leave the customer with. Make sure it’s meaningful and uplifting by taking the time to make people feel valued.

3) The ‘Wow’ Factor (worth an extra 0.5!)

The Von Restorff/Imaginationeffect shows that we remember anything that is exceptional, different or unique.No matter how brilliant a communicator you are, there will automatically be a sag or drop in the audience’s attention and recall in the middle of your presentation or speech. To add excitement, try developing a signature story that tells an interesting tale while delivering your message at the same time. Create an even bigger impact by combining your story with other things like props, musical instruments, mind maps, colours, images, activities and videos. One speaker developed his Von Restorff and learnt to throw a boomerang around the auditorium just over the heads of the audience.

4) Make Connections

The principle of Association states that we remember what is linked or connected, especially to ourselves and our own worlds. Using association will raise the overall level of recall by helping you access the audiences existing memory ‘files’. Group exercises are a great tool for this, helping the audience link the ideas you are presenting with their own lives, applications and practices. Or you can use the ‘Rule of Three’. To make your message more memorable focus on three core ideas or associations. Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple, was famous for this in his annual product launches, focusingon three core and noteworthy elements of the product rather than the full feature-set.

5) Do they Understand?  

The principle of Understanding and Misunderstanding demonstrates that it’s possible to remember something ‘accurately’ that never actually happened. During your communications, remember that the brain is not simply a passive receiver – it’s a highly active and creative participant.  Your audience will be manufacturing their own personal images and associations in the context of what you are saying. Think: Where is there a potential for misunderstanding and how can I avoid it? What are the real facts?How can I improve clarity? Focus more on what your audience will actually understand and absorb, rather than simply what you want to tell them.

6) Wake Up their Interest

Interest has the potential to improve memory in one immediate, giant leap. Your goal is for people to remember, understand and enjoy your communication; to ensure that it captivates their interest and gives them something valuable to apply to their lives once it has finished.Work with the following rule: First tell them what you are going to tell them – in other words start with a strong Primacy effect. Second, tell them – creating association and Von Restorff through the middle. Finally, conclude with an impactful Recency by telling them what you told them.

7) What’s the Meaning of it all?  

Through the principle of Meaning, people take in bits of information and piece them together to create the whole picture. The result is the ‘aha’ moment when it all makes sense. Think about how you can build meaning into your entire communication – What is the big picture? What will it mean to your audience? Provide information in small, meaningful chunks to help your audience make new and significant connections between the gaps in their own knowledge or experience. Like a jigsaw, keep offering them missing pieces until they solve the puzzle.

‘The Most Important Graph in the World’, published by Proactive Press (£14.99, 210 pages, paperback, ISBN:978-1-908934-01-7), launches on 2nd June and is available via

For more information on the book and the author, please visit


About TonyBuzan

Known to millions as the inventor of Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan has helped people around the globe to unlock their creativity, improve their memory and boost their thinking skills. He is a prolific author and has written over 100 books on the brain and thinking, translated into 33 languages in over 150 countries.

Lecturing around the world to schools, universities, corporations and governments, Tony has been the instrumental driving force behind global mental literacy.

Tony is the founder of the World Memory Championships, World Speed Reading Championships and The Brain Trust Charity and in 2008, he was honoured to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Creativity Association (ACA).

In this completely new work, Tony reveals how a simple understanding of memory and its improvement can instantly and dramatically change our lives and the lives of those around us.

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