How many times have you met someone for the first time, to forget his name within a few seconds of being introduced?
It is a frustrating (and embarrassing) situation that many of us find ourselves in – but according to a memory expert there are a few simple techniques that we can use to ensure that we will never again be bothered by those uncomfortable moments.
Chester Santos from California, known as the & # 39; International Man of Memory & # 39 ;, is convinced that no one is a & # 39; bad & # 39; has – they simply do not have the right skills to make their work as effective as possible.
For the past 11 years, he has taught people techniques that he thinks work best to improve memory, and is the personal memory and mind coach for a number of celebrities, politicians, professional athletes, and powerful executives.
How many times have you met someone for the first time, to forget his name within a few seconds of being introduced? Shown: stock image
Chester believes that just one hour of coaching is enough to improve a person's ability to store information, because he says: "Once you use the right technique and approach to incorporate things into your memory, you immediately notice a difference & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Remembering things is a skill, & # 39; he said to FEMAIL. & # 39; Most people have no technology, no way to record things in their memory. They just think they were born with a good or a bad one.
& # 39; Using these kinds of techniques you activate more areas in your brain and build more connections in your mind with the information than you would normally do, so you'll probably retain more than you would. & # 39;
So, what are his magic techniques, and do they actually work? FEMAIL's Hayley Richardson has put them to the test.
Chester Santos from California, known as the & # 39; International Man of Memory & # 39 ;, is convinced that no one is a & # 39; bad & # 39; has memory – they simply do not have the right skills to make their work work so effectively.
I call Chester in Miami from my office in London – after I hadn't started in the best way after I had ironically forgotten that we had planned an interview.
That is why I was not so optimistic that Chester could transform my goldfish brain into the kind of eidetic spirit of the character Mike Ross on Suits.
Although I have a pretty good memory when it comes to learning the rules of game scripts, I am much less adept at remembering my calendar for the week and the names of people I come across casually.
My memory is especially bad when it comes to alcohol. Only a few glasses of wine are known to wipe out entire conversations from my consciousness – which I often uncomfortably recall the next morning.
& # 39; Alcohol hinders the ability to convert information into long-term memory & # 39 ;, Chester reassures me.
When it comes to daily, non-boozy living, Chester thinks everyone can remember much more than they already do – even me.
Chester believes that only one hour of coaching is sufficient to improve a person's ability to store information, as he says: "Once you use the right technique and approach to incorporate things into your memory , you will immediately notice a difference & # 39;
Since he won the USA Memory Championship in 2008 and represented the country at the 17th World Memory Championship in 2007, I claim he is probably more genetically blessed than the rest of us.
& # 39; I was someone who was naturally good at creating connections in my mind between something new that I tried to learn and something that I already knew & he said.
& # 39; I had my own weird ways to do it, but no formalized way of training at that time. But when I learned the right techniques later, I really increased my ability to remember. & # 39;
Chester thinks that people today claim to have a worse memory due to & # 39; digital dependence & # 39 ;, which means we rely more often on search engines to help us when we can't remember something.
I blush inwardly, thinking of the number of times I have spelled dates, and if Prince Philip was a & # 39; l & # 39; or two.
Chester thinks that people today claim to have a worse memory due to & # 39; digital dependence & # 39 ;, which means we rely more often on search engines to help us when we can't remember something. Shown: stock image
& # 39; Nowadays we not only outsource our memory but also other mental functions to these electronic devices & # 39 ;, Chester warns.
& # 39; There is a danger in this because these devices are very useful, but I want to make people aware that we have to be very careful to make them do everything for us. The use or loss principle applies to your memory and other mental functions.
& # 39; We used to remember the phone numbers of family and friends, and when I was growing up, my parents gave me emergency numbers. Nowadays you give someone one number and they can't remember – some are struggling to remember their own number. & # 39;
He has a point – I couldn't even tell you my friend's phone number (although strangely enough I can remember some old digits of my school friends when they were in the phone book).
We begin our session with a warm-up visualization exercise, where Chester encourages me to introduce myself in a room that I know of, in which Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump accompany me.
Surreal as it sounds, I find it relatively easy – and amusing – to conjure up an image of the two surly-looking men in my relatively small living room.
Chester says that one way to get better at remembering names is to change names to visuals
It gets better because Chester then encourages me to imagine that they throw custard cakes at each other – a treat for the eyes of the mind, I can tell you that.
The purpose of this exercise is to emphasize how powerful our visual memory can be. He explains how, when dealing with people, we are often good at remembering faces we have seen at parties or on TV, but not as well when it comes to names.
& # 39; This makes perfect sense, because you always see the face during your interaction & # 39 ;, Chester explains.
& # 39; It is recorded in our visual memory, but you never say the name – it is more abstract to the brain.
& # 39; One way to get better at remembering names or pieces of information is to turn it into visuals – so Mike could be a microphone, Alice a rabbit (from Alice in Wonderland). & # 39;
He also suggests thinking of items that rhyme with the person's name – such as a necklace for & # 39; Jane & # 39; – because visualizing something to represent the name will make it more memorable for you.
Chester & # 39; s top tips for remembering names
Step 1: When you are introduced to someone, immediately repeat their name, for example: & # 39; Nice to meet you, John. & # 39; Make it a habit.
It may seem perfectly obvious, but often someone introduces ourselves to us, our thoughts are focused on something else, and we pay no attention to the name. Repeating forces you to pay attention for at least a second.
Step 2: At the start of your interaction with a new person, ask him a simple question with his name to reinforce it in your head. For example: & # 39; So John, tell me … & # 39 ;.
You don't have to use it over and over, because it may seem a bit weird, just use it early, that's enough to strengthen it.
Step 3: Take a few seconds to connect the person's name to everything you already know. For example John Lennon, or a character from a TV program or movie, or something as simple as a friend or family member with the same name.
You could also weave the visual idea here – linking something about the appearance of that person to another visually (the crazier the better).
Step 4: When you leave the party or meeting, make it a point to say goodbye to people who use their names. That will help you remember more of those names the next time you see those people.
If you have already forgotten it, I recommend that you ask that person again and again, because they will not be offended so quickly and appreciate that you give enough to know his name the next time you see him them.
If you can do all this, you will begin to remember a large majority of the people you meet.
After visualizing Trump and Putin, Chester tries to engage more of the senses, such as smell and taste (how do the cakes taste? What do you smell?) To activate more brain regions, creating more connections in the mind to the information, so that it becomes easier to collect it later.
He also acknowledged that the scene he described was deliberately extraordinary.
& # 39; I want you to learn to take advantage of the psychological aspect of human memory, which all of us, with little to no effort, tend to remember things that are strange and surprise us, "he says ( Granted he often imagines the place where he blows up his keys & # 39; while he lays them down to help him visually remember where they are, so he doesn't misplace them).
& # 39; By combining these three principles, it becomes easy to remember everything. & # 39;
The next challenge, says Chester, is to remember a random word list, which he is rattling at breakneck speed.
These are cloud, bicycle, elephant, watermelon, cat, egg, rabbit, mud, bird, flute, jungle, turkey, computer, sword and pizza.
No chance, I think to myself.
& # 39; Often when I recite that list of words for the audience for my presentations, people look at me as if they want to say, "Come on, man, you don't mean that, I can't remember unless you give me a lot time to do it, "Chester admits, as if reading my mind.
But he insists that I will know these words in a few minutes in a row – and she will remember me next week.
His way of doing this is to help me build mental action cards to remind me of what I am trying to remember, again using a visual clue.
He also encourages me not to see this memory task as something difficult and boring, but as a fun exercise and an opportunity to use my creativity and imagination.
& # 39; This shift in approach will make a huge difference in your ability to remember things & # 39 ;, he says.
He asks me to imagine a cloud in the sky, from which a bicycle suddenly falls and lands on the ground before it continues on its own until, unbelievably, it collides with an elephant.
& # 39; Just see this as a movie or cartoon in your head, no matter how you best visualize it & # 39 ;, he says.
This process continues until the mini story is completed. Incredibly, when Chester asks me to repeat the words to him, I don't have a problem, even vice versa, by passing on the mini storyboard in my head – and giggling while I do that.
OK, so it works and it's fun – but I challenge Chester, when do I ever have to remember a list of random words in real life?
I miss the point, he explains, because the same technique can be used to remember something – and can be particularly useful when doing things such as giving a presentation.
& # 39; Nowadays people don't put things in memory, they have slides with tons of information in them & # 39 ;, he rightly says.
Chester services are popular with politicians and business executives, who need to remember people's names, their husbands' names, and things they like for conversation topics
& # 39; If you can remember five to ten important things that you can run away and show that you know what you are doing, you better demonstrate your expertise and distinguish yourself from other professionals.
& # 39; If you can get there and give an interactive presentation or one-to-one with a customer, memory skills will distinguish you – you make yourself more memorable. & # 39;
It becomes clear why the services of Chester are so popular with politicians and business executives.
& # 39; If you attend a number of events and have no idea what people's names are and what they do for a living, you don't maximize the corporate network, & # 39; Chester notes.
& # 39; There is power in remembering names. I have been hired by politicians – they want to know the name of everyone there, the names of the spouses, things they like for conversation topics, things they don't like to avoid in a conversation, because it makes them more popular and attractive to get them more votes.
& # 39; In the case of the common person, it helps you do more business and improve your likability factor, making you more popular in the organization you are involved with. It influences success in many different areas of life.
& # 39; Remembering the names of people, the names of their children, things about them makes you more sympathetic, and it is more likely that a sympathetic person will progress better in their career.
He adds that age does not play a role in memory, and explains that he had people from eight to 90 years old in his workshops.
& # 39; I have seen so many people in the sixties and seventies who did better than those in their twenties and thirties, & he said.
& # 39; Generally, someone who is older may not be as keen as someone younger, but a big factor is how much you use and practice your memory. People who keep themselves mentally active are usually sharper than their younger colleagues.
& # 39; By keeping your brain and mind stimulated, you can keep your memory sharp at any age. & # 39;
Chester is currently offering a free trial version for its memory school, an online training portal. For more information about him and his work, visit Internationalmanofmemory.com or chestersantos.com.
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